People raise their fists and hold a portrait of George Floyd during a rally after the guilty verdict following 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 country’s top business leaders express their relief at the conviction in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd. They also demand that the country continue to fight against systemic racism and for police reforms.
Chauvin was found guilty on Tuesday on all three charges, including second degree murder and third degree murder.
Last spring, Floyd’s murder sparked protests against Black Lives Matter across the country and around the world. A video recorded by a teenage viewer, Darnella Frazier, outside a Minneapolis supermarket showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes. In Floyd’s last moments, he struggled to breathe and called for his mother.
As protesters took to the streets, companies were checked for their own records of racial justice. They were pushed to do more than just make statements – which resulted in a range of corporate commitments, from revising the hiring and hiring of black workers by companies to supporting mandatory de-escalation training for the police.
Here is a summary of the responses from business leaders and companies to the chauvinist ruling in alphabetical order:
“There are countless examples of violence against black men and women that don’t end like this. 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 – have reminded us of the stark reality and persistence of systemic racism in our country. It 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 with every day together. “
“We believe black lives are important. We know that there is more to be done to achieve racial justice and justice in our society, and we remain committed to the journey.”
– Excerpts from a letter American Airlines executives, CEO Doug Parker, President Robert Isom, and Cedric Rockamore, vice president of Global People Operations and Diversity and Inclusion, sent to employees Tuesday evening
– Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said on his personal Twitter account
“While this ruling in the assassination of George Floyd symbolizes a degree of progress toward racial justice and accountability, it does not completely erase the history of systemic and institutional racism in our nation. We still have a long way to go in advocating for racial justice fight.” This country and Best Buy’s unwavering commitment to this work remain strong. “
– Statement from Best Buy
“Today’s verdict confirms that George Floyd was the victim of a senseless crime. Although today’s verdict is a step toward justice in this case, unarmed black men and women continue to die in police encounters. To ensure true justice and healing, our country must take steps to address its long history of racial inequality in law enforcement.
Business Roundtable will continue to work with members of Congress and the administration on bipartisan police reforms that implement national police standards and enable greater accountability, training, community engagement and transparency. “
– Statement by the Group of CEOs led by its Chairman, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon
– Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO, said on his personal Twitter account
“The murder of George Floyd nearly a year ago sparked a much needed reckoning of racism in America. It has rightly led us as individuals and as a company to examine what we can and should do – what we must do – to take action to make society more just.
Today’s verdict at the court hearing is very emotional for many of us. It feels like justice has finally been served, but it doesn’t end the grief so many are feeling. It highlights the EMTs [executive management team’s] Commitment – shared by so many of you – to be allies, to fight systemic racism at all levels, and to support all who face injustice. It also speaks to the importance of the work we are doing as part of our Action for Racial Justice to close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the United States. “
– Excerpts from a LinkedIn post by Sara Wechter, Head of Human Resources at Citigroup
“Right now I am thinking of George Floyd, his family and those who knew him. I hope this judgment brings some degree of comfort to you and everyone who can see themselves in his story. We stand in solidarity with you to know that this is part of a larger fight against racism and injustice. “
– Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Facebook, said in a post on the social media site
“A small amount of justice has been done today. But real justice would be that George Floyd is alive and in the arms of his family. This brutal tragedy is a page in a much larger story of systemic racism, oppression and injustice in our country.
As we continue to regularly watch unarmed blacks in America being killed by the police, I stand by these demanding changes. We can’t see what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd. We cannot obscure the truth it reveals today about racism in America. And we can – must – never forget. There cannot be true justice in America until freedom and equality are real for all.
My thoughts today are with George Floyd’s family and with so many other families who are missing loved ones today. “
– Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said in a post on the social media website
“We are confident that today’s judgment will enable a grieving family and community to heal. However, the systemic racism and social injustice that erupted in the George Floyd assassination and countless other horrific episodes in our country run deep Rooted. Together we must remain thoughtful and determined to address this reality, including the unacceptable abuse of authority and power and the pain that it brings – disproportionate to the Black Community and other people of color. Ford and our UAW partners will continue to be a corporate culture create where everyone feels they belong and our differences are really appreciated. “
– Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford, and Jim Farley, CEO, said in a statement
– Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, said on her personal Twitter account
– Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, said on his personal Twitter account that he supports the company’s support for Congressional police reform efforts and the advocacy of the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
– Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce and owner of Time, quoted from a story by time journalist Janell Ross
“The murder of George Floyd on Remembrance Day was a turning point for our country. The solidarity and resistance to racism since then has been unlike anything I have seen. Like outraged people everywhere, I had an overwhelming hope that today’s verdict would offer Real accountability. Anything else would have shaken my belief that our country had really turned a corner.
Today’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin Trial is another sign of progress. When I think about the Minneapolis Police Department denouncing the brutality George Floyd faced and the shame voiced by multiple witnesses, the jury’s verdict assures me that we will not go backwards.
Unfortunately, this type of tragedy did not end on May 25th, and our country has much to do and a long way to go. I can’t imagine how difficult these months have been for George Floyd’s family and friends. You are very on my mind and I hope today’s judgment offers some level of comfort.
I also think especially of our black team members. I know this process cannot remove the pain caused by years of inequalities and inequalities. What I would like to offer today is my promise that we as a company will continue to use our values and actions to promote empathy and understanding and to counter individual prejudices and systemic racism. Today’s judgment doesn’t mean our job is done. There is much more to be done as we support healing in our hometown of Minneapolis and across the country. We must continue to work together towards a safe and just future for all. “
– Tuesday night employee letter from Brian Cornell, CEO of Target
– Jeff Lawson, CEO and Co-Founder of Twilio, said on his personal Twitter account
– Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, said on his personal Twitter account
“This has been an especially painful time in our nation, especially for Black and African American and color communities. We hope today’s judgment is a first step toward justice and healing. Wells Fargo is committed to promoting a culture that includes diversity , Justice and Justice promotes inclusion in both our business and the communities we serve. As we move forward, we will work to make meaningful change and will continue to support our people, partners and investments in our communities as this is our responsibility as Corporate citizenship and doing the right thing is. “
– Statement by a Wells Fargo spokesman