Today, our CEO Mike Kaufmann sent this letter to employees, following the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial:
If you are like me, today you might feel a sense of relief . . . that our justice system of due process can work the way it should and imposes a consequence when a life is taken. And yet, I cannot help but think about the times our system has failed to hold one life in the same regard as another.
While George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Derek Chauvin was a tipping point for many of us to become an ally, the events we’ve seen in the months since – the experiences of too many to name – clearly demonstrate that, as allies, we must remain engaged and continue to look for ways to take action. We must continue our work to raise awareness of the inequities all around us, and we must take steps to peacefully promote equity and humanity for everyone. Ending racial injustice is the goal, and it’s clear there remains much to be done for us to get there.
For a moment, let’s pause for healing and reflection. I hope that you can make some time for both, and that you actively seek help if you need it – it’s okay to not be okay. I strongly encourage you to reach out if you need support. Last week, our Chief Diversity Officer sent a note that included some of our EAP resources to help you process events like this and so many others we see all too often in the news. Use these.
I’ll leave you with the words I shared about a year ago as we grappled with the videos of this terrible event and ask you to continue to have the tough conversations.
Racial injustice is our past – and our present. And if we remain silent, it will also be our future. We have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to create a different experience for each other and it starts with genuine curiosity, open conversations and small acts of kindness.
Changing this culture of oppression and injustice won’t be easy and won’t happen quickly. Violence, looting and riots will not create the change we need. It will take commitment and many uncomfortable conversations.