CORE’s Responsibility to Our Community

CORE condemns the racial injustices, murder, and discrimination affecting our communities throughout the United States, particularly the wrongful deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and many more. We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and others who have lost loved ones due to police brutality and senseless acts of violence. These deaths are plainly unjust-- and, as a center of entrepreneurship within Columbia University and as members of the West Harlem community, we reaffirm our dedication to uplift, amplify and empower the Black community.

Entrepreneurship and venture capital have historically neglected, exploited, and profited from the extraordinary gifts of Black culture, imagination, and innovation. This has been visible through the limited amount of funding allotted to Black founders as well as the lack of representation within entrepreneurship and VC, both on campus and across the nation. We would like to applaud organizations like BLK Capital, Harlem Capital, BLCK VC, and Backstage Capital for their continued empowerment of Black enterprise. Moreover, we would like to recognize the legacy of Black Wall Street, the prosperous freedom colony, and Black hub of innovation which reigned in 1920’s Tulsa, Oklahoma. We hope to honor this memory in our dedication to Black entrepreneurship.

As the leading entrepreneurship organization at Columbia University, it is our duty to foster a more inclusive environment that uplifts Black voices. In alignment with our mission to inspire, educate, and launch the next generation of Columbia entrepreneurs, we are committed to: 

Supporting and amplifying the work of Black founders  

Serving as active members of the West Harlem community

Fostering inclusivity structurally within CORE

Increasing representation in our immediate and global entrepreneurial ecosystem

We implore you all to take action in your communities in whichever modes that are feasible. To quote the brilliant South-African leader, Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” 

We are very proud of Bella Barnes, Jessica Barrios, Lord Crawford, Maxwell Johnson, Maya Joudi, Justin Saintil, and Tyrese Thomas for individually organizing a GoFundMe, The Black Innovation Fund. They are committed to investing in the holistic wellbeing of Black entrepreneurs– advocating for personal safety and quality of life, supporting intellectual growth, and promoting economic and career advancement. To achieve this, they will be donating to Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund, Harlem Educational Activities Fund, and Campaign Zero. We urge you to donate and to directly impact both the communities of Harlem and the world. Please join them in supporting Black innovation by donating to their fund— any contribution counts! They will be evenly distributing the funds raised across these three extraordinary organizations.  

As leaders of CORE, we encourage you to take action by donating to the following Black-run resources, having challenging yet meaningful dialogue surrounding racial injustice, and lending a direct hand to Black communities. We have created a database of vetted resources to guide your education on police brutality, donation options, as well as tools to maintain your mental health during this tumultuous time: CORE’s Black Empowerment Resource Guide. 

We look forward to our consistent, relentless, and intentional action to address racial injustice at Columbia, West Harlem, and beyond.

In solidarity,

Columbia University Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs (CORE)