There’s More than One Pandemic

We condemn systemic racism.

It is a virus that has infected the United States and the world. It ebbs and flows, seeking division and denial of human rights for those outside society’s power structures. Every time we think we have the right remedy, it hides under the surface, only to reappear in social flares of violence and oppression.

We are appalled at the inequities and brutality that we are facing in the United States and the communities we serve. The team at Flywheel is committed to nurturing entrepreneurship with a supportive community space. There are not just words for us, and this is not a post to make us feel better. This is core to our values. This drives our behavior, which in turn forms our culture.

When we onboard new members the first words in our orientation manual are:

Our Values
Our strength is our community.
Our passion is impact.
Our drive is to accelerate.

Respect diversity of all kinds.
Make friends, not contacts.
Believe in giving, not taking.
Help others before helping ourselves.
Listen before advising.
Celebrate success and failure.
Never stop learning.

What Drives Innovation
Innovation exists where diversity of culture, race
age, origin, gender, experience and perspective
collide to test our limits and push our boundaries.

If our behavior conflicts with these values, we remind ourselves and our members that we have to change. Systemic racism seeks to dismantle these values by denying others access to basic rights, education, food security, economic mobility, and wellness. Until everyone sees that we are all related, all sisters and brothers, and we eliminate us vs. them, me vs. you, mine vs. yours… well, we have very hard work to do.

This need for self-awareness of our cultural shortcomings does not happen in a day, a month or a year. It is a constant internal and external struggle. Each day is like Sisyphus of old who was condemned to roll a huge stone up a mountain only to have it roll to the bottom and have to start over again. We have to roll the burden of racism out of our culture until it is gone and the virus is defeated.

What we are doing.

Flywheel rolls the stone every day to create a culture of inclusion and equity. We helped Hustle Winston-Salem form many years ago and continue to serve as hosts and fiscal sponsor.

Our entrepreneurial ecosystem has a high degree of collaboration and we coordinate programming and resources to fill gaps. We are acutely aware of many shortcomings of our community that need attention, and collectively we are looking for actionable way to address them.

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County rank way below comparable cities and counties in poverty, economic mobility. We have a high degree of food insecurity and a challenge with educational attainment at all grade levels.

Before these disparities were laid bare by the pandemic and the steady drumbeat of racism, many ecosystem leaders pledged to focus on the social determinants of health, each of which must be addressed to dismantle systemic racism.

The Flywheel Foundation has adopted this call to action  and is developing innovative programs and funds focused on social impact and diverse capital access. Click HERE to see the Foundation's Statement on Racial Equity, and click HERE to see scholarships offered to all of our curriculum for people of color and indigenous populations.

A Time for Action.

Imagine living with Covid-19 all around you for the rest of your life, fearful that it could set you back or take your life at any time. Now you have a glimpse of why we need to join the movement against the injustice and backward thinking that systemic racism cultivates.