Keeping the Conversation on Race Going

The past week has been a pivotal moment for our country and for our Company. The topic of racial injustice and systemic racism is a reality that so many black Americans – and many of our black colleagues – face every day, and it will not go away without a commitment from people everywhere to influence change. This week, we chose to take a stance on this topic, not because it is a political issue, but because it is a moral one. As Jon Vander Ark shared on our general management call, “There is one side on justice, and it is justice. That is the side we want to be on.”

With silence and complacency off the table, so many of you have spoken up, spoken out, and asked questions about ways you can support our black colleagues through this time.

First, have the conversation. When we take the time to talk about our experiences with each other, we increase our empathy for one another. On Monday, we empowered our leaders to do this with their teams and the impact has been felt across our Company, with people connecting in new and meaningful ways.  As one colleague said, “The only wrong conversation is one that doesn’t happen.”

Second, deepen your understanding. Listen to those around you with an open mind. Learn more about topics of race, equity and justice through books, articles, movies and more. We have compiled resources to help you connect with each other and learn more. Talk to you supervisor about accessing these resources. Many of them will be shared right here on Blue Nation as well.

Third, get involved and take action. Our Black Employee Network is working to create forums to talk about race and are bringing together our employees and allies of the black community to further our progress as a Company. We are grateful for the courage that so many of our black colleagues are demonstrating in this moment by raising their voices and sharing their stories so that we may all learn and grow. Additional ideas for how to help are also available on the resource page.

Finally, as leaders, we are committed to keep this conversation going. Change will not happen with a few memos. Like everything we do, it needs to be part of our values, our behaviors and our routines to be durable and have lasting impact.

Thank you to those of you who have shared your stories and experiences, and to those of you who have demonstrated the courage to ask and to hear them. These are challenging times, and while we cannot fix the racial inequity that exists in our society overnight, we each have a role to play in ensuring our Company is a place that is inclusive to all.

Take care,

Sumona De Graaf
SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer