Editor’s Note: The following message is an excerpt of an email originally shared with employees from CEO Chip Bergh following yesterday’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.
Yesterday Derek Chauvin was convicted of killing George Floyd. Today, I want to reiterate my commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within LS&Co. and to using our voice to drive social change.
George Floyd’s murder last year sparked a worldwide outcry. People protested around the globe. His death, and the way he died, so soon after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, shook me to my very core. For me personally, it was a moment of social reckoning as I realized that our country has made little progress in breaking the structures of racism. I also realized that we as company hadn’t done enough to create a truly diverse and equitable organization where everyone feels valued and included for who they are. I am fully committed to building a company worthy of all who work here. And while we’re making progress, we still have a lot more to do.
Since the testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin began on March 29, at least 64 people have died at the hands of law enforcement nationwide. Black and Latino people were more than half of those killed. This is unacceptable and must end – it tears our families and communities apart, erodes trust in our institutions and keeps America from fulfilling its true potential. None of us can afford to be silent.
I will continue to use my voice as a CEO and our platform as a values-led company to advocate for change. It’s incumbent upon each of us — especially those of us who benefit from today’s systems — to help build a more just society.
I know a lot of you are hurting right now. Enduring racism — let alone fighting it — can feel overwhelming, even hopeless at times. The ongoing violence so many of you have witnessed and suffered can feel unrelenting. I want you to know that you’re not alone. The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion team is working to bring in racial trauma experts for employees struggling with these events, in addition to our existing mental health benefits. I encourage you to reach out for support if you need it.