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I am appalled – as is anyone who cares about diversity, fairness and justice – by the events of the last few weeks involving racial injustice in the U.S. Below is an email I shared earlier today with my colleagues at BlackRock.
The past few weeks have been deeply painful for the black community. I am appalled – as is anyone who cares about diversity, fairness and justice – by the events of the last few weeks involving racial injustice in the U.S. The murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, and the incident in Central Park, show how much work we have to do to build a stronger, more equal, and safer society.
Many of us are struggling with these events. For our employees suffering pain from these tragedies, I want you to know that that the firm’s leadership stands with you, and we are listening. We will do everything we can to support you and give you the space to express your feelings and concerns.
In recent days, BlackRock’s Black Professionals Network has led a series of powerful sharing sessions where employees have discussed these incidents. Now we must broaden the discussion. I ask that all of us across the firm reflect on and engage in dialogue on these issues.
We have watched for months as the tragedy of COVID-19 has disproportionately hurt communities of color, as they have suffered more COVID cases and endured a greater share of the economic hardship than the rest of the population. Now, that pain has been compounded by these new incidents of racial injustice.
No organization is immune from the challenges posed by racial bias. As a firm committed to racial equality, we must also consider where racial disparity exists in our own organizations and not tolerate our shortcomings. We can only heal these wounds – building a more diverse and inclusive firm and contributing to a more just society – if we talk to each other and cultivate honest, open relationships and friendships. Going forward, we will continue to develop resources to help you engage in productive conversation and to take meaningful action, and you’ll be hearing more this coming week. I recognize this process isn’t easy – I know it’s not easy for me. But it’s essential.
Importantly, we have to make this a sustained effort. I am writing to you today because recent events have forced us to reflect on the severity of these issues, but these events are symptoms of a deep and longstanding problem in our society and must be addressed on both a personal and systemic level. This situation also underscores the critical importance of diversity and inclusion within BlackRock and society at large. We will continue to push forward in our efforts as a leadership team to build a more inclusive and diverse firm.
I often talk about taking emotional ownership – taking responsibility for the success of BlackRock and its clients. It also means that we are responsible for each other. Now is the time to embrace that responsibility. Please take an active role in that effort. We all must work together to build a more fair and just society – that is part of BlackRock’s purpose.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn on May 30, 2020. You can learn more about BlackRock’s commitment to Inclusion and Diversity on our careers website.