The Black Lives Matter movement, protesting racism, police brutality, and the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans, has not only been seen and heard in streets around the world; it has found a new voice in corporate boardrooms as well. The 8-minute, 46-second video of a police officer indifferently kneeling on the neck of Floyd, an unarmed Black man, as he pleaded “I can’t breathe” has prompted a wave of statements from CEOs and business leaders expressing solidarity and a commitment to address the problem of systemic racism. But how?
One thing is clear: companies should acknowledge what is happening in this tumultuous time. Failing to do so may be viewed as complicit by employees and clients alike. But the acknowledgment of support is not enough if the company’s deeds do not match its words. Beyond condemning racism and police brutality, what might an employer do? It is confusing to know how to respond given the issues and varying industries, but the confusion should not lead to paralysis. Here is a sampling of what companies around the country are doing: