The following message was delivered by our CEO, John Heyman, during a companywide call last week. Our writers felt his personal call-to-action was a positive one to deliver externally as well.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
- Benjamin Franklin.
I heard this quote the other day and wanted to share it with you all. The events over the past 30 days have been very disturbing. While I’m physically unaffected by what has happened in Savannah, Louisville, and most recently Minneapolis, my heart breaks for those who have
My heart breaks for people of color who, while they may have the same legal rights as white Americans, are often at a systemic disadvantage at best and face racism at worst.
My heart breaks for those who are peacefully protesting and finding themselves in harm’s way.
My heart breaks for the vast majority of law enforcement officials who are good people, sacrificing themselves each day while finding hatred and violence in the streets.
I’m outraged by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, among the countless others that have happened before them. And I’m numbed by the indifference people have shown.
At the same time, I’m inspired. I am inspired by people like the Flint Michigan sheriff who removed his protective gear and walked alongside the protesters. Inspired by pictures of protesters hugging people of law enforcement and officers kneeling with protesters.
We cannot be tolerant. We can
do something. It strikes me personally that I’ve been too passive as a leader and too passive as a citizen. I want to do something—but first I’m going to take the time to learn what
to do. I’m going to take the great privilege of being the CEO of our company—which I don’t take lightly—and I’m going to work with HR on a discourse on this topic. We’re lucky to have a diverse employee population and I want to become a better human, citizen, and leader.
For those of you who are interested in that journey, I invite you to join me. I recognize that there will be perspectives that I don’t have, but those are the things I want to understand. I recognize the conversations are going to be difficult, but I embrace that opportunity.
Two of our tenants are “be a great place to work” and “learn every day.” Our diverse population gives us an amazing opportunity to advance in both areas. I want to learn more about this. I no longer want to be passive. I want to ensure my outrage is informed by a perspective that I can’t have as a white 59-year-old male. So I’m really hopeful that a diverse group of our people want to engage in this journey; I believe we’ll be a better company for it.
Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts on this. Some may find it controversial, but I find it necessary.