Statement from Jake Wood



I wanted to take a moment to address the tragedy that has unfolded in Minneapolis over the past week.  First, as human beings I hope that all of our hearts break for the tragic and senseless loss of George Floyd's life.  Second, as Americans I hope that you're all outraged by the distinct lack of compassion and concern demonstrated by the officers on scene.  You may be wondering why any of this matters to Team Rubicon, or why I'm writing you about it.  The fact is it has everything to do with Team Rubicon.  

Most will say that the death of George Floyd was a racist act - whether that racism was explicit or implicit. Some will vehemently argue that race had nothing to do with it.  I won't use this forum to debate that question.  What we do know is that racism is alive and well in the hearts and minds of some in this country. Racism, regardless of its roots, thrives when people lack empathy. Empathy thrives when people lack perspective.  And people lack perspective when they fail or refuse to confront the realities of our country's marginalized communities.

The beauty of TR is that our Greyshirts confront those realities daily in some of America's most disenfranchised communities. Whether it is the Navajo Nation, Immokalee, Florida, Mingo Hollers, West Virginia, or inner-city Detroit, our Greyshirts - regardless of their own race, background or privilege - choose to serve.  They're rewarded with perspective and empathy.  As an organization I believe we have some of the most empathetic, compassionate, and open-minded people in America. But we can - and we must - do better. 

We must continuously strive to diversify our ranks.  We must better understand how our words, actions, and policies might impact those that are different than us.  This is a continuous journey; and one that I even find myself stumbling upon at times. 

Here are my commitments to you: I commit to furthering the efforts of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Unfortunately, with the all-hands-on-deck efforts of COVID-19, the efforts of this committee have been delayed.  We will recommit to them immediately. I commit to protecting a culture that values our diversity.  Be it race, religion, sexuality or any other "difference" we will continue to all be "GREY."  We will focus on what unites us and not on what divides us.  Part of that commitment will be an increasing effort to diversify our board, staff, volunteer leaders, and volunteers. I commit to ensuring we serve communities free of bias.  We will proudly serve those communities that need us most, regardless of how they look, what language they speak, who they love, or what they worship. I commit to making Team Rubicon an example of unity for America. America needs inspiration. 

Team Rubicon should strive to be it. I hope my commitments are your commitments, and that you'll join me on this mission.  We can make a difference, together. Finally, I want to send a message to those Greyshirts among us who protect our communities by holding the "Blue Line."

 I believe 99.9% of cops are good cops.  I believe we should honor the service and sacrifice of the police officers in our communities.  Your jobs are dangerous, exhausting, and often thankless.  So thank you for your service. I also believe that one of the ways we must honor your service is by demanding accountability of those who dishonor the badges you wear so proudly.

 I hope that our country can get to a place where demands for accountability are not confused with a lack of support.  Part of me believes our cities would be better served if our Greyshirt officers filled their Chief, Captain, and Lieutenant ranks.  Perhaps that's a future we'll see some day. America is angry today.  It should be.  Let's turn that anger into action.

In service,


Jake Wood Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

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