Voices from the corporate community on George Floyd’s murder

From the Boston Scientific leadership team:

On May 25, George Floyd, a Black man, died in Minneapolis after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by the knee of a White law enforcement official. George Floyd was being restrained by the police on suspicion of a nonviolent crime. His cries for help, bystander pleas for mercy, and the terrible manner of his death were all recorded on video.

George Floyd’s death reflects deeply ingrained, longstanding divisions in our society. And it comes at a time when the pandemic has given rise to hate and xenophobia around the world, with rampant acts of violence across the nation, and the spread of misinformation, racial stereotyping and fear. Sadly, George Floyd is one of many who have recently died because of injustice.

As an executive committee, we feel compelled to condemn injustice and discrimination and to reaffirm our commitment to live by our values and cultivate a workplace that makes equality, diversity and openness priorities—a workplace that sets an example for the greater community. These deaths are yet another reminder that we must continue to listen and learn from one another in safe and inclusive environments—and with respect for different perspectives and backgrounds.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As individuals and as an organization, we must stand up against acts of intolerance and racism—as well as behaviors that promote divisiveness. In line with our values at Boston Scientific, we will not accept hate, racism or intolerance of any kind.

The tragedy in Minneapolis hit particularly close to home for the nearly 9,000 members of the Boston Scientific team who live and work there. This letter is signed by our leadership team and carries a universal message: We can only heal and grow better together by listening and learning, by having courageous conversations, and by cultivating a trusting environment where all people feel safe, comfortable and empowered to voice their ideas, thoughts and concerns.

When we behave this way, we can set an example for all of our communities around the world. We need to do better—and we can.

Mike Mahoney, chairman and CEO

From Ecolab:

One of our Minnesota neighbors died this week at the hands of our police. It was caught on video and the inhumanity and outright cruelty displayed is gut wrenching. The victim was a Black man with no criminal record in Minnesota.

It is nearly impossible to believe that race wasn’t a factor. The patterns of police and criminal justice abuse towards Black men in the U.S. are statistically irrefutable. Statistics speak to the head, but seeing it played out on video hits emotionally, and I can only imagine the emotional impact on our Black community.

I want our Ecolab associates of African heritage to know how I feel about this. I am deeply sorry this happened and even more deeply sorry that there remains an environment where this still too routinely occurs. I hope we can relieve some of the heartache and angst you feel.

Maybe most importantly, I commit to use whatever pulpit I have to make our feelings and beliefs known… We all need and deserve a culture where opportunity is shared, which will only happen when justice and education are shared.

When injustice is ignored, justice for everyone is weakened. We must stand as one.

 Doug Baker, CEO of Ecolab