“Save the dream.”

“End the nightmare.”

Fifteen years ago, I drove through a small, otherwise sleepy California community that was clearly in a massive, contentious debate. Approximately half of the residences in the town had lawn signs that implored residents to “Save the dream” and vote to continue to fund some municipal project in the next election. The other half of the town had given up on the project, and instead lobbied their neighbors with equally visible lawn signs, demanding to “End the nightmare” by voting against the initiative.

I never learned what the election was for. But the topic clearly struck a nerve with the community, as people vocalized their positions clearly.

I can’t stop thinking about those competing three-word phrases in this current environment.

Save the dream.

End the nightmare.

The American dream — that anyone has a fair shot to become anything with hard work and determination — seems like a failed promise for too many people.

At this moment, our nation is in pain. We are angry and devastated by the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota, especially so soon after the unjust deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. The largely peaceful protests, the massive and diverse demonstrations in hundreds of cities, and the violence and destruction that have occurred since are all manifestations of people who are at or past their breaking points.

At this moment, the focus is rightly on police brutality and racial injustice. Our nation has a deeply stained and dismal record on the issue. Senseless violence, the presumption of guilt, and the targeting of black citizens in this country has persisted for way too long. It is infuriating, it is depressing, it is maddening. And it must change. This nightmare must end.

We are not a political organization at Boom Sports. But we want to be unequivocal in our support of this movement — yes, black lives matter. They mattered yesterday, they matter today, and they sure as hell will matter tomorrow. We stand with the Black community and all of those who feel marginalized, forgotten, or taken for granted. We see you, we are with you, and we are your allies in this fight. This is not the America we dreamed it could be.

As a relatively small startup, we have limited financial means to help. But knowing that something is better than nothing, we are donating $50,000 this week to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund as it continues its fight for racial justice.

But we also know that this pain, this anguish is not solely about police brutality. It is about the daily microaggressions, the subtle and not so subtle prejudices people face, and the conscious and unconscious biases many of us as individuals and organizations have failed to shed. It’s about a lack of representation and voice.

And this is where we can all do better. This is where we must all do better.

That starts by looking in the mirror. At Boom, we have 20 full-time employees — none who are black. When considering all people of color, our team has more diversity, but we are still under-represented in the city we are based. We will make no more excuses. We must work harder to ensure that we have a work force that is as diverse as the sports fans we are looking to entertain. To hold ourselves accountable, we will regularly meet internally and with respected advisors to discuss and measure our progress against this objective.

Representation alone doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s a start.

To our users and our business partners and our investors, we humbly ask you — reflect on what you can do, and then do something. Do something. This is not an issue that will be solved overnight or perhaps in our lifetimes. But we all must work toward progress and equality.

And lastly, to be clear, our support for justice is in no way support for violence. We thank the police officers who employ empathy, who look to defuse tensions and de-escalate situations, and who risk their lives to serve and protect our communities.

Stephen A. Murphy

Boom Sports CEO