Republic Team –
Like many of you, I have been closely following the significant turmoil and unrest across the country. The catalyst for these events was the tragic and senseless killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The video footage is unbearable to watch. A fellow citizen’s life was taken, and the driving factor was most likely the color of his skin.
These events are deeply unsettling, and people are rightfully outraged that this continues to happen in our country. What started out as peaceful protests have now been overtaken by violence and destruction, creating additional fear and uncertainty. We are taking every precaution to help keep our team members who live and work in the impacted areas safe.
The riots and protests are likely to subside in the coming days. What will not change in the near term is the underlying racism that led to Mr. Floyd’s death. The sad reality is that this tragic incident was not an isolated event. It shines a light on black Americans who don’t live in a society with equal justice. As an employer of people from all backgrounds, we are committed to maintaining an environment where every one of you can come to work, feel safe, and be at your best.
In this moment, many of you, especially our black colleagues, are feeling angry, confused, and afraid. If one of us is struggling, we are all struggling. While we can’t fix society, change can start with us. We can support one another by having open conversations about this topic. As a first step, we will be inviting our leaders to engage in a conversation tomorrow about race, equity, and injustice with the expectation that it will spark meaningful dialogue across our organization.
These discussions will further us in our commitment to creating a culture where people of all backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and faith feel safe, respected, and valued. Together, we will work to make our Company a model for inclusiveness and equality.
I look forward to the dialogue.
Jon Vander Ark