These are troubled times. The 3D printing industry is banding together to stand strong on the right side of history.
While we all may feel quite distanced from the still-ongoing pandemic, the world is also starting to see much, much more coming together in the face of something bigger than any of us. The horrific murder of George Floyd — to name only one recent unjustified and deplorable killing — has reignited the spark of the Black Lives Matter movement, and protests have spanned the streets and the screens — computer screens, that is.
Statements have been issued from those in leadership positions to clarify their stances. While some unlikely heralds have been ice cream leader Ben & Jerry’s (“We Must Dismantle White Supremacy — Silence Is Not An Option”) and other businesses one might not think necessarily speak out on civic matters, there’s a difference between ‘stay in your lane’ and using a leadership platform to, well, lead.
It’s very clear that in the United States specifically and the world more broadly, systematic racism is a deep-rooted problem. It impacts everyone, both personally and professionally. Certain demographics have simply not had access to the same opportunities as others, and this has led to a skewed makeup in businesses. The manufacturing industry — and the additive manufacturing industry — is seeing this as well, and is seeing leadership step up with statements and action plans.
These are some of those statements.
National Association of Manufacturers
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which represents 14,000 member companies in the US, has released an 11-point commitment plan detailing their Pledge for Action:
- We will speak out and stand up for justice, equality and opportunity, actively making these topics part of an ongoing conversation without being asked or reminded.
- We will make bridging the racial opportunity gap a central part of our missions.
- We will strengthen our workplaces as spaces where black people and all people of color will be heard, respected and celebrated.
- Recognizing that many communities are underrepresented in manufacturing workplaces and that lack of employment opportunities impact income, wealth and health outcomes, we will broaden outreach and industry-career promotion efforts to black people and all people of color as well
- as underrepresented communities to provide more pathways to rewarding careers in modern manufacturing.
- We will work to improve and increase representation of black people and all people of color at all levels of our companies and organizations—entry level, midlevel and senior level.
- We will expand education, training and scholarship opportunities in the manufacturing industry for black people and all people of color.
- We will remove barriers and open doors to modern manufacturing careers for those inside prisons and for those reentering society.
- We will engage with black people and all people of color in local communities and promote partnerships with volunteers and service organizations, ensuring that our understanding of the communities where we live and work includes the perspectives of black people and all people of color.
- We will lend our voices to the fight for justice system accountability measures and criminal justice reform.
- We will encourage increased minority participation in democracy through voting, advocacy and other opportunities for influence.
- We will diversify the supply chain by providing equal opportunity for black-owned and minority-owned enterprises to do business with us.
Carbon’s President and CEO, Ellen Kullman, authors an article on LinkedIn sharing a collective need for a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging, writing:
“It can be difficult to think about how to process tragic events and how to address them with teams and colleagues, but doing nothing is not an option. Please let us:
- Make the time to listen and learn. If a door is opened for conversation, listen. We learn so much about how to be better allies by listening to the experiences of others.
- Respect the time and space to process and heal. Let’s be sensitive and supportive. Managers and leaders at all organizations can help by setting a kind and compassionate example.
- Take action to address systemic racism. Change will take all of us. We need to use our voices to condemn injustice and support organizations working to bring about meaningful change.”
EOS’ CEO, Marie Langer, wrote on LinkedIn:
“The incidents of the last weeks and yesterday’s funeral of George Floyd have made me very thoughtful. It is time to stand up and to show a strong commitment to diverse societies and a condemnation of racism. EOS has an open, diverse culture that is intolerant of all forms of discrimination. We treat everyone with fairness and respect. I am very proud that at EOS we created a community of around 70 different nationalities globally and we will built on this even further. This diversity is a great benefit for us as a company, but also for each individual. Different cultures, mentalities and points of view are enriching when working together and constantly enhance our personal development. I would like to encourage everybody to stand up for equal rights and a peaceful and diverse society.”
MatterHackers’ CEO, Lars Brubaker, writes as part of his statement:
“We will not be idle, we will stand together, we will use our platform for good.”
The company’s full statement on inclusion details further actionable steps:
“While many of these initiatives were already in place, they will now be prioritized and accelerated.
- We will partner with organizations on the ground taking action locally and globally in order to support your work in making STEM hardware, materials, and training accessible. If we are able to make your already great work easier in any way, we are here to help.
- We will be more proactive in seeking out and supporting BIPOC educators and administrators to excite students from underrepresented and under-resourced backgrounds about careers in STEM industries. Together we will empower a generation that is prepared to lead future innovation in technology and digital manufacturing.
- We will be mindful of our internal supply chain including vendors, manufacturers, and suppliers; finding ways to partner with, and include in our decision-making, Black and minority-owned businesses whenever possible.
- We will use our website and social media platforms to amplify voices of makers, educators, and businesses of color who are doing inspiring work in digital fabrication, as our industry moves from inclusion to representation to equity.
We will also continue to invest in business practices which have always been important to MatterHackers:
- Seek diverse panelists, topics, and viewpoints for our events and meetups,
- Support industry events and discussions geared towards inclusion and equity,
- Engage recruitment practices which encourage diversity,
- Zero tolerance of internal racist comments or actions,
- STEM education outreach to underrepresented groups and under-resourced communities,
- Maintain current discounts and support to all schools, libraries, makerspaces, and nonprofits to make digital fabrication technology accessible.”
Xometry issued its statement on Instagram:
“The recent, wrongful killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black Americans reminds us all that racism and discrimination still exist and thrive in the United States. We’re inspired by the positive response of peaceful protests. While the country suffers greatly from the scourge of COVID-19, the virus is an unthinking parasite incapable of controlling its deadly spread. Racism, however, requires conscious malice to infect our very culture and undermine the confidence and trust we have in each other. It is a deadlier virus. We agree wholeheartedly with the statement from Montgomery County Maryland Chamber of Commerce, located near Xometry’s Headquarters: “Honest conversations, positive actions, and change are needed if we truly want a full recovery—not only from the pandemic but also from bias and racism.” We commend the efforts of Janice Freeman, President & CEO, African American Chamber of the Commerce of Montgomery County for her efforts related to this critical matter for our community. This is only the beginning of much needed work.”
3D printer manufacturer re:3D issued a statement about “Reassessing Our Mission in the Context of Systemic Racism,” which reads in part:
“re:3D will take the following steps:
We will increase our efforts to amplify the voices of diverse leaders in 3D printing and STEM fields. Not just people who use Gigabots, but people whose work broadens our collective understanding of for whom and what this technology is used. These voices are out there and deserve to be amplified so our youth can see themselves in the faces of leaders.
We will also increase our efforts to give students – especially minorities – access to this technology. We believe in enabling the next generation of change-makers who will move additive manufacturing to the next level. For resources, consider the paper: Making Through the Lens of Culture and Power: Towards Transformative Visions for Educational Equality by Shirin Vossoughi, Paula Hooper, and Meg Escudé, as well as the initiative 0Things by Josh Ajima with DesignMakeTeach.
We will be more intentional in our hiring process. We are a small company in a new field, but we have big dreams, and we want to be a company full of diverse dreamers. By advertising jobs and internships in places where diverse communities live and study, and by having open, honest, and fair interview processes, we can increase the diverse voices in the company. We believe this can only help us grow our mission and broaden our work. If our mission aligns with yours, please visit re3d.org/careers. We’d love to have you.
Internally, we will continue developing company culture to include conversations about diversity, race, privilege, and social justice in order to dismantle our own subconscious prejudices. This is so we go out into the world with a greater understanding, empathy, and sensitivity to racism in our country. We do this work so we can be the allies we want to be, both inside and outside of work.”
Formlabs explains as part of a lengthier statement on Twitter that:
“Formlabs stands with the Black community in rejecting discrimination, hate, and inequality in all forms.”
3D Systems lays its stance out plainly in a single sentence on Twitter:
“We believe that we have a responsibility to lean into our values and be very clear in condemning all acts of racism, discrimination, and violence.”
HP Inc. President and CEO Enrique Lores wrote a message on LinkedIn that states in part:
“HP was built on values of diversity and inclusion, fairness and equity. The character of our company is what made me proud to join as an intern all those years ago and has remained a source of pride each and every day. Our customers expect this of us, and our work is never done. It’s important that we use times like these as motivation to do more.
It has been nearly six decades since Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Those words are as true today as they were then. And they apply not just to the tragedies we’ve seen here in the U.S. over the last couple months, but also to injustices that I know are all too frequent in countries around the world.
There has never been a more important time for us to live by the values on which HP was founded. They give us the light to lead through even the darkest days. And each of us can play important roles in advancing our best ideals and treating others with human kindness.
There are no words we can say to bring back those we have lost, but we can honor their memory by the way we lead our lives and run our business. In these difficult times, I encourage you to reach out to those around you. Support others with compassion, empathy, and respect. Be leaders in your communities and across our company, because standing up for what you believe in is, and will always be, the HP Way.”
Individuals in leadership positions too have taken to the internet to share their statements.
Nora Toure, the Founder of Women in 3D Printing, wrote an exceptional piece entitled, “On the social impact of 3D Printing and why it matters.” She writes in very short part (the whole is well worth the read):
“With that, what steps can an organization like Women in 3D Printing take in order to normalize diversity?
- As a leader in the industry, I will use my voice, and I encourage other leaders to do so, especially if you are white, especially if you are a man,
- I will continue helping organizations I believe in, such as 3DAfrica, in delivering on their missions for more inclusiveness,
- As the head of a global organization with chapters in 25+ countries, I will encourage more cross-locations discussion,
- With only 1 chapter in Africa, I will actively work on developing our presence on the continent,
- Whenever a speaking opportunity arises, I will make a point in finding not only women but individuals who are part of underrepresented communities to include their perspective in our narrative.”
I also wrote my own thought piece, “3D Printing, Social Impact, And Crisis”, which I published on my company’s blog as my personal statement and thoughts on how the additive manufacturing industry might understand and relate to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Finally, we want to speak up as well.
While for many years Fabbaloo has made it a point to stick to 3D printing and opine on only those issues that directly concern the technology and the industry, this is no time to stay silent.
Since its inception in 2007, Fabbaloo has been a dedicated resource for the 3D printing industry. Starting with Kerry’s solo drive to establish this site to share the latest news and views on 3D printing technologies and evolving into a larger team, certain values and visions have remained consistent.
We value diversity in the 3D printing industry, and in all areas of technology and business.
We have long been partnered with Women in 3D Printing to share women’s stories and experiences in this industry, promoting the vision of a more diverse workforce in 3D printing. Kerry is an ally; Marney is the Wi3DP chapter ambassador for Winnipeg; I am on the Board of Directors. Our collaboration with Wi3DP highlights our active participation in working toward a stronger focus in diversity.
It is our belief and stance that equity is imperative for this industry to truly meet its full participation. We condemn racism: we condemn discrimination on the basis of race, gender identity, background, or religion. We will continue to work with this industry to promote inclusive forward action.
We believe this industry is stronger with more diversity of voices. We look forward to continuing to share the news of this industry and the reactions of this industry on matters that impact us all.
Have The Conversation
These are hard conversations to have.
These are conversations we must all be having.
To be a leader is to lead, and to lead is rarely an easy thing. Lead by example day to day, but on those uncommon days where it is necessary to speak up, speak up — and follow through.