Archive for March 26th, 2014

Building a Global, Diverse, Inclusive Mozilla Project: Addressing Controversy

March 26th, 2014

Monday’s announcement of Brendan Eich as the new CEO of Mozilla brought a lot of reactions. Many people were excited about what this meant for Mozilla, and our emphasis on protecting the open Web. In the next few days we’ll see more from Brendan and the leadership team on the opportunities in front of us. Before that, however, both Brendan and I want to address a particular concern that has been raised about Mozilla’s commitment to inclusiveness for LGBT individuals and community, and whether Brendan’s role as CEO might diminish this commitment at Mozilla.

The short answer: Mozilla’s commitment to inclusiveness for our LGBT community, and for all underrepresented groups, will not change. Acting for or on behalf of Mozilla, it is unacceptable to limit opportunity for *anyone* based on the nature of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This is not only a commitment, it is our identity.

This commitment is a key requirement for all leadership within Mozilla, including for the CEO, and Brendan shares this commitment as the new Chief Executive Officer.

Second, I’ll point to Brendan’s comments on this topic.

Third, I’ll note that two years ago we had an open conversation and co-creation process about how we make sure our community supports all members, including all forms of gender and sexual orientation. The process, with me as the draftsperson, resulted in the Community Participation Guidelines. These Guidelines mandate that (1) each of us must be inclusive of all community members, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and more, and (2) any exclusionary approach you might practice elsewhere must be left at the door, and not be brought into Mozilla’s spaces.

We expect everyone, regardless of role or title, to be committed to the breadth of inclusiveness described in the Guidelines. These Guidelines are in addition to our inclusive and non-discriminatory policies which apply particularly to employees. As a practical, concrete example we’ve also been pushing the boundaries to offer excellent health benefits across the board, to domestic partners and all married couples, same-sex and otherwise.

My experience is that Brendan is as committed to opportunity and diversity inside Mozilla as anyone, and more so than many. This commitment to opportunity for all within Mozilla has been a key foundation of our work for many years. I see it in action regularly.

The CEO role is obviously a key role, with a large amount of authority. The CEO must have a commitment to the inclusive nature of Mozilla. This includes of course a commitment to the Community Participation Guidelines, inclusive HR practices and the spirit that underlies them. Brendan has made this commitment.

Finally, I’ve been asked a few times about my own personal views, and so I’ll add a short comment.

I am an avid supporter of equal rights for all. I support equal rights for the LGBT community, I support equal rights for underrepresented groups, and I have some pretty radical views about the role of underrepresented groups in social institutions. I was surprised in 2012, when his donation in support of Proposition 8 came to light, to learn that Brendan and I aren’t in close alignment here, since I’ve never seen any indication of anything other than inclusiveness in our work together (note: I’ve edited this sentence to give clarity).

I spend most of my time focused on building an open Internet, which I think is a required infrastructure for empowerment for everyone and where I think I can add something that’s tricky to replace. If I weren’t doing this, I’d probably be spending a good chunk of my life focused more directly on equality issues.

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