Building a business aimed at social justice with Google Fiber
At Google Fiber, we’re always excited to see how our customers put our gigabit internet to work for them. Throughout 2021 we’ll be featuring customers from across the country who represent the amazing endeavors of those who see the opportunity of the internet and are using it every day to make the world better, more interesting, kinder, and more just.
“Why can’t we harness the marketplace to prompt thoughtfulness and push back the tide of social injustice in America?”
This is the problem I saw and my purposeful lifestyle company Civic Saint is a part of the solution. I designed my inaugural collection of accessories and apparel to uplift those advancing the Black Lives Matter, Equal Rights, and Voter Rights movements. Customers’ purchases also perpetuate the push for equity in America through donations to appropriate organizations.
The idea for Civic Saint came to me while I was completing treatment for head and neck cancer at the University of Kansas Medical Center in January of 2020, but it all came to a head during this summer’s unrest. As a Black, gay man, I was tired of waiting for change to come; and it became clear to me that I was not alone.
My aspiration for Civic Saint is to not only create a company that promotes an affirming, inclusive society through thoughtful products and partnerships, but also one that prompts reflection and conversation about each of the movements our inaugural collection honors. Additionally, Civic Saint is a social enterprise that advances systemic change by donating a portion of its profits to organizations that fight for racial and social equity, including The Equal Justice Initiative, The Bail Project, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Troost Market Collective. Civic Saint’s mission and impact align with principles my late parents, Cecil and Goldie, instilled in me and demonstrated throughout their lifetimes as public servants and individuals.
In creating my products, I’m also partnering with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color for my core services from Black, female-owned She Prints It in Atlanta, Georgia to Black, nonbinary Kansas City creative Fawn Lies to woman-owned AlphaGraphics as well as allies like Nick Ward-Bopp who co-founded Maker Village. The path to change includes being intentional in who you choose to do business with regardless of the size of your business — asking whether your choices reinforce economic disenfranchisement or uplift a multifaceted cadre of service providers and people.
From inception, Google Fiber and Google Business Solutions have underpinned the construction of my dream to start a business. From Google Fiber gigabit internet service to domain and email hosting to designing on my Google Pixelbook to payment processing, and so much more. Google’s suite of products and services have allowed me to establish a meaningful, professional company about which I can be proud and to do it quickly.
I believe right now has the potential to be as pivotal a time as the 1964 Freedom Summer, but only if we can drop the divides and remember our shared humanity and equal rights. In short, the call to do more to create a just, equitable society is upon all of us and we must answer it now.
Posted by Godfrey Riddle, Founder & President of Civic Saint