2017 is a year that has inspired many of us to take action in support of causes we feel passionate about. For many of us, it is the first time we have chosen to stand up for what we feel is right, to have our voices heard, and to pay attention to issues around the world. At Yelp, we have found a place to harness this passion, and to transform any sentiments of exclusion or anxiety into constructive dialogue and action.
On February 23, Yelp organized its first ever Action Day, bringing together almost a hundred Yelp employees to act in support of seven issues: immigration, reproductive rights, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights, climate change, education, and voter registration. We took our lead from the 10 Actions in the first 100 Days Campaign organized by leaders of the Women’s March, and grouped Yelpers into “Huddles” with each Huddle responsible for identifying specific actions that participants can take on Action Day. Despite being a decentralized effort with an ad hoc steering committee operating on a short timeline (two weeks!), Action Day generated tremendous participation and impact which, in and of itself, speaks to the passion of the people at Yelp.
Personally, I found the experience to be cathartic and educational on multiple levels. It illustrated the power of collective organization, especially when driven by a powerful cause, and demonstrated Yelp’s authentic culture of inclusion and commitment to supporting its employees.
As a group, we emailed petitions to our elected representatives requesting their support on issues ranging from charter school transparency to Title X to rights for transgender students. We sent postcards to senators urging action on climate change; facilitated pledge donations to causes like Planned Parenthood and Refugee Transitions; and collected orders for merchandise supporting the Black Lives Matter and Women’s March movements.
Moreover, these actions were only the first step. Each Huddle also developed an ongoing initiative for those interested in continuing to drive positive change in their communities. For example, the Education Huddle registered volunteers for upcoming Yelp workshops with local schools and educational organizations, while the Immigration Rights Huddle will continue their fundraising efforts on social media, in support of local refugee causes.