Bumble Wants Your Help Finding Intersectional, LGBTQ+ Groups to Fund

by Nona Tepper
June 16, 2020
Photo: Bumble

The parades may be canceled, but Bumble wants to keep the spirit of Pride Month alive virtually. The Austin-based social networking app announced on Monday it is accepting user suggestions for LGBTQ+ groups centered on supporting black people, indigenous individuals and people of color (BIPOC) to donate to this month.

The company will accept suggestions for organizations until June 30, and will award up to $5,000 to each recipient, according to Kyra Seay, special project manager. Bumble did not respond to a request for how much the company aimed to give in total.

“Pride and racial justice aren’t mutually exclusive,” Seay said in a statement. “As ongoing supporters of Pride month, we have to acknowledge the BIPOC who founded this movement and those who continue to fight for our rights today.”

Bumble’s user-suggested donations will complement the $1 million the company has already pledged to local and national racial justice organizations, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Austin Justice Coalition and more. Bumble has also committed to match all donations from its 700-person workforce to organizations “in the fight to dismantle white supremacy and end the systemic racism that plagues this country.” Bumble staffers will also receive flexible, paid time off “amid a climate of fear.”

The company said that a “comprehensive audit” will be performed across every area of its three-part business — which allows women to initiate romantic, friendly and professional connections — to root out racism, bias and inequity. The company has pledged to share updates on its progress.

“We should have embarked on this long ago,” the company said in a release.

Bumble’s recent moves build on the app’s work to promote a safe environment for its more than 95 million users, the company said. Since 2017, Bumble has worked with the Anti-Defamation League to use AI to identify hate symbols passed through the app. The company said it has a “zero-tolerance” policy for these and other symbols, which presumably means users who message them are barred from the platform.

Last week, Macketta Johns, a black member of the Bumble social team, explained why certain symbols and comments are racist as part of the #ShareTheMicNow campaign on Instagram, which aimed to amplify the voices of black women. Johns used the opportunity to tell Bumble’s Instagram followers about microaggressions she has experienced such as white people asking about her hair, mispronouncing her name and being told “you don’t sound black.”

“If you find yourself saying one of these things, or thinking one of these things, that doesn’t mean you’re an awful person,” Johns told the nearly 19,800 viewers. “It just means you need to look inside yourself, and think before you speak, because you do not want to harm anyone.”

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