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1 Jun 2020

Dealbook newsletter, The New York Times

Business executives call for awareness & action to confront racism

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'A Heartbreaking and Painful Week,' 1 June 2020

Robert Smith, the billionaire founder of Vista Equity Partners... sent a... memo to his firm’s staff... "... When I see the face of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, or Christian Cooper, I see myself as a young man; I see the faces of my children; and I am reminded of the many times in my life when I have been judged not by my character, but by my skin color... In so many ways, this is a better, stronger, more inclusive country than it has ever been. In other ways, progress still feels so elusive. There is still so much hate, bigotry, anger, violence, and misunderstanding in our society... Take the time to reach out to the communities that are grieving most, and let them know that you support them."

Top black American executives called for awareness and action to confront racism:

  • Mark Mason, Citigroup’s C.F.O., published a... post on the bank’s corporate blog. After repeating Mr. Floyd’s last words — “I can’t breathe” — Mr. Mason writes that the latest deaths in police custody “are reminders of the dangers Black Americans like me face in living our daily lives.” 
  • Thasunda Brown Duckett, JPMorgan Chase’s consumer banking C.E.O., wrote on her Instagram account, “It’s 2020 and Enough Is Enough. We can no longer be silent.” She urged followers to watch the PBS documentary “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War.”
  •  Marvin Ellison, the C.E.O. of Lowe’s, tweeted of families and communities wounded by violence, “As the father of a young black male, I can only imagine their pain & emptiness.”

... Other executives made personal statements, including Larry Fink of BlackRock, David Solomon of Goldman Sachs, Dara Khosrowshahi of Uber, Penny Pennington of Edward Jones, Arvind Krishna of IBM and Tim Cook of Apple.