The following is a statement from National Safety Council President and CEO Lorraine Martin:
As a result of last week’s tragic killing of George Floyd, today’s unparalleled challenges mean we are facing national strife in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.
In this moment, all of us at the National Safety Council and organizations across the nation are forced to ask once more what it means to truly keep people safe, especially in our communities of color that face painful and systemic inequities as a result of deep-rooted racism. We must strive not only to ensure physical safety but create an environment where everyone feels secure and welcome. Each of us has a role to play in enabling those around us to live their fullest lives with dignity and respect. We must open hearts and minds to acknowledge the pain as well as the work it will take to address it.
I believe that business leaders have an important role in this critical conversation. As the face and conscience of our organizations, we have an obligation to recognize and respond to systemic social challenges, to participate in and encourage open dialogue that ensures everyone is heard and represented. Every employee, every citizen deserves our support to live and thrive in freedom and with justice. Leaders’ voices must provide guidance within our institutions and across our country.
To that end, I call on my fellow business leaders to use your voice. Include a strong inclusion and diversity platform that considers persons of all backgrounds as part of a post-quarantine re-opening strategy and training plan for employees. For those who already have strong practices in place, share your best practices with others. This is the right time for a reset.
Doing so will help create an environment where different perspectives are not only heard, but valued. Having an inclusion and diversity mindset at work can inspire employees to take messages around respect and belonging home to their loved ones so we can have the lasting impact on our communities, and more specifically, to amplify those in our community whose voices have been marginalized.
This moment requires all of us, and especially business leaders, to be catalysts for positive and lasting change that will protect all people from the workplace to anyplace.