Corporate America did not miss the opportunity to weigh in on the jury finding former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on three counts of murder in the death of George Floyd, with Twitter feeds flying and corporate statements pouring into email boxes since the decision was announced on Tuesday.
Floyd’s death sparked violent protests across the country and solidified radical racial justice groups like Black Lives Matter, which encouraged violent protests and found financial support from some of these same corporations.
Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors:
The past several weeks have been a painful and poignant reminder of the need to support reform and condemn injustice. Our thoughts are with the Floyd family as these verdicts will not replace their loss.
— Mary Barra (@mtbarra) April 20, 2021
Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel:
We can’t fix the long history of racism in America overnight, but we must do what we can to address it and make the world a better place. https://t.co/uRxL7dw8CN
— Pat Gelsinger (@PGelsinger) April 20, 2021
Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO:
Today represents accountability and an important step towards justice. But it's just that: a step. I continue to have George Floyd's family on my mind — the injustice of their loss won’t be changed by today’s news. We all have more work to do.
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) April 21, 2021
Eric S. Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom:
This day is meaningful in the pursuit of justice, although Black communities continue to experience targeted acts of violence. I want to affirm our support for our Black employees and the Black community.
I also want to share excerpts from notes we sent to employees today. pic.twitter.com/ru42dq5Bex
— Eric S. Yuan (@ericsyuan) April 21, 2021
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple:
Today’s verdict was just, but as Dr. King wrote: “Justice for Black people will not flow into society merely from court decisions nor from fountains of political oratory…Justice for Black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society.”
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 20, 2021
Chuck Robbins, chairman and CEO of Cisco:
The horrific murder of George Floyd rocked us to our core. Today we are hopeful and reminded of why we fight for justice for all. @Cisco will continue to live our values, show up for our employees, customers & communities and stand for fairness, equity & truth.
— Chuck Robbins (@ChuckRobbins) April 20, 2021
LinkedIn statement from Sara Wechter, Head of Human Resources at Citigroup:
George Floyd’s murder almost one year ago sparked a much needed reckoning on racism in America. It rightly pushed us as individuals and as a company to examine what we can and should do — what we must do — to take action to create a more equitable society.
The verdict in the trial today sparks a great deal of emotion for many of us. It feels like justice has been finally served, yet it doesn’t end the grief felt by so many. It underscores the EMT’s commitment — shared by so many of you — to be allies, to fight systemic racism at every level, and to support all those facing injustice. It also speaks to the importance of the work we’re doing through our Action for Racial Equity commitment to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the U.S.
I encourage us to continue to support one another, and to work hard every day to ensure Citi is a place where each and every one of our colleagues can show up as their true, authentic selves.
If you need support, please reach out to your manager or our Affinity steering committee and to learn more about race matters, allyship and anti-racism, please connect with Citi’s internal resources.
Statement from Blue Cross Blue Shield:
Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (“Blue Cross”) shared the following message today with the company’s 3,700 employees:
Many of us today are reflecting on the guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd. For the past week, our board member Quincy Miller noted, “it has felt like our very humanity was on trial.” In the end, Mr. Floyd’s humanity was recognized. His life mattered.
And his death mattered. Mr. Floyd’s senseless killing, at the hands of a police officer sworn to protect him, spurred outrage and anguish in America, as well as vital dialogue and action.
One verdict does not mark victory in a long fight for justice and accountability, but I hope it does mark progress in a battle that will continue. We know we can only begin to heal as a nation if we act together to address racism and injustice.
Our company is committed to racial justice and committed to doing that hard work of healing. We are confronting the crisis of racial heath inequities and working to create a more equitable health care system, especially for people of color. We are supporting Black and Brown leaders in our community, including organizations focused on police reform. Working together, we can begin to put an end to inequities.
Much work remains to be done, in our company and our community.
Here at Blue Cross, we will continue our dialogues on racial equity and prejudice, including at next month’s Company Connect and in June when, for the first time as a company, we mark Juneteenth, the day that commemorates the end of slavery.
Racial injustice and bias bring pain and fear to members of our own community, and I have been proud to see our associates support each other and show solidarity. Today, I encourage you to connect with others — check on colleagues, reach out if you are feeling hurt. We can take strength from our common values of respect, dignity, and equity for all.
Statement from Best Buy:
While this verdict in the murder of George Floyd symbolizes some measure of progress toward racial equity and accountability, it does not fully erase our nation’s history of systemic and institutional racism. We still have a long way to go in our fight for racial justice in this country, and Best Buy’s unwavering commitment to this work is as strong as ever.
The New York Times reported on Target’s statement:
“The murder of George Floyd last Memorial Day felt like a turning point for our country. The solidarity and stand against racism since then have been unlike anything I’ve experienced,” Brian Cornell, the C.E.O. of Target, wrote in a note to employees of the Minneapolis-based retailer yesterday. “Like outraged people everywhere, I had an overwhelming hope that today’s verdict would provide real accountability. Anything short of that would have shaken my faith that our country had truly turned a corner.”
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook:
Right now I’m thinking of George Floyd, his family and those who knew him. I hope this verdict brings some measure of comfort to them, and to everyone who can’t help but see themselves in his story. We stand in solidarity with you, knowing that this is part of a bigger struggle against racism and injustice.
Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford, and Jim Farley, CEO, said in a statement:
We are hopeful today’s verdict will allow a grieving family and a community to start to heal. However, the systemic racism and social injustice apparent in the killing of George Floyd and countless other terrible episodes in our country are deeply rooted. Together, we must remain thoughtful and determined in addressing this reality, including the unacceptable abuse of authority and power and the pain it causes – disproportionately for the Black community and other people of color. For our part, Ford and our UAW partners will continue to create a company culture where everyone feels they belong and our differences are truly valued.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos:
— Amazon (@amazon) April 21, 2021
Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Technologies:
— Michael Dell (@MichaelDell) April 20, 2021
Business Insider reported on response from Walgreens and Microsoft:
Walgreens Boots Alliance posted a statement on its website saying that law-enforcement officials must protect “all of us, at all times.” People need to “pledge to do everything within our power to ensure that long-overdue, much-needed reforms are enacted to prevent future injustices,” the company said. “Even with a verdict now handed down, we must never forget what this past year has taught us, and we must always keep alive the memory of George Floyd, and the countless victims who have suffered similar fates,” it said.
[Microsoft President Brad] Smith said “our nation has a long journey ahead before it establishes the justice and equity that Black Americans deserve.” He added that “no jury can bring him back to life or reverse the pain and trauma experienced by his family and still felt across the country and around the world” but that the verdict was “a step forward in acknowledging painful truths.”
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