We’ve just witnessed a heart-breaking week in America. Deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 100,000. Unemployment claims surpassed 40 million. Both of these issues have caused widespread pain and anxiety, and have placed a disproportionate burden on families and communities of color.
Then last week came another painful blow — the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in police custody. Mr. Floyd’s death was another in a series of recent stark and tragic reminders of the racial inequities and inequality that persist in America, particularly for Black Americans. It has sparked waves of fear, outrage, and pain across the country.
As we continue to witness these unfolding events, we, as an organization, have a responsibility to our Black employees, family members, partners, and clients, as well as to our clients’ Black employees, to speak up and to seek justice, equality, and healing. Our mission, vision, and values — everything we stand for — are premised on our collective commitment to justice, equality, respect, and dignity for all. So let us be clear: racism, racial discrimination, and racial injustice, in any form, at any time, and anywhere, is unacceptable.
While we do not have direct influence over the streets of America, the focus of today’s national dialogue, we do have a platform for impact. We are the lifeline to hundreds of thousands of employers, and millions of employees, across the country. We work to make sure our clients understand and follow the laws, treat their employees with dignity and equality, and create workplaces that are safe, healthy, and respectful for all.
There is still much work to do, and today we took our next step. We began developing a guide to help employers navigate issues related to race, as well as diversity more broadly, and to understand their opportunities and responsibilities for building inclusive and supportive workplaces. We’re also going to host a series of internal conversations about race, so as a team we can share our experiences, learn together, identify additional actions we can take, and create an even more compassionate culture.
Our mission is to elevate teams every day, and we believe in the power of HR to elevate organizations and the lives they touch. We believe this not just because we believe organizations can only thrive when they know how to comply with laws and regulations. We believe this because we believe in people, and that teams, organizations, communities, and our country are elevated only when the dignity of every person within them is elevated.
It will take all of us to get there, and right now, that means working together to advance the cause of racial justice for Black Americans.