After Chauvin verdict, business leaders speak out saying fight for racial justice must continue

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People raise their fists and hold a portrait of George Floyd during a rally following the guilty verdict the trial of Derek Chauvin on April 20, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Elijah Nouvelage | AFP | Getty Images

In tweets, corporate statements and letters to their employees, some of the nation’s top business leaders are expressing relief at the guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd. They are also calling for the country to continue to fight against systemic racism and for police reform.

Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges, including second-degree murder and third-degree murder, on Tuesday.

Last spring, Floyd’s murder catalyzed Black Lives Matter protests across the country and the globe. A video taken by a teenage bystander, Darnella Frazier, outside of a Minneapolis convenience store, showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes. In Floyd’s final moments, he struggled to breathe and called out for his mother.

As protestors marched in the streets, companies faced scrutiny for their own records on racial equity. They were pushed to do more than simply put out statements — prompting a series of corporate commitments from overhauling how companies recruit and hire Black employees to backing mandatory de-escalation training for police.

Here is a round-up of reactions to the Chauvin verdict by business leaders and companies, in alphabetical order:

American Airlines

“There are countless examples of violence against Black men and women that don’t end this way. In the past year, a number of brutal and senseless murders of Black Americans – from Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor to Daunte Wright and many others – remind us of the stark reality and persistence of systemic racism in our country. They sparked anger, awareness and dialogue; but not the change needed to address injustice in our communities and institutions. As an airline, we bring people of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds together every day.”

“We believe Black lives matter. We know there is more work to do to achieve racial justice and equity in our society, and we remain committed to the journey.”

— Excerpts from a letter sent to employees Tuesday night by American Airlines executives, CEO Doug Parker, President Robert Isom and Cedric Rockamore, vice president of global people operations and diversity and inclusion

Apple

Best Buy

Business Roundtable

Cisco

Facebook

Ford

General Motors

Intel

Salesforce

Target

“The murder of George Floyd last Memorial Day felt like a turning point for our country. The solidarity and stand against racism since then have been unlike anything I’ve experienced. Like outraged people everywhere, I had an overwhelming hope that today’s verdict would provide real accountability. Anything short of that would have shaken my faith that our country had truly turned a corner.

Today’s guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is another sign of forward progress. As I think about the Minneapolis Police Department denouncing the brutality George Floyd faced, and the disgrace expressed by multiple witnesses, the jury’s verdict reassures me that we will not go backward.

Sadly, this kind of tragedy did not end last May 25, and our country has a lot of work to do and a long way to go. I can’t imagine how difficult these months have been for the family and friends of George Floyd. They are very much in my thoughts, and I hope today’s verdict offers some measure of solace.

I am also thinking about our Black team members in particular. I know this trial cannot erase the pain that comes from years of inequalities and inequities. What I want to offer today is my promise that we as a company will continue to use our values and actions to advance empathy and understanding and to confront individual bias and systemic racism. Today’s verdict does not mean that our work is done. There’s much more to do as we support healing in our hometown of Minneapolis and across the country. We have to keep moving forward, together, toward a safe and equitable future for all.”

—Letter sent to employees Tuesday night by Target CEO Brian Cornell

Twilio

Uber

Wells Fargo

Zoom



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