“I can’t breathe.”
Like so many of you, I’m nauseated when I see the images of George Floyd’s murder—to watch the humanity and life be stripped from him as he struggles to say those words. “I can’t breathe.”
America has a problem, and it’s a problem our society has collectively ignored for far too long. Systemic racism is real and for many Black Americans, they feel its effects daily. They face deadly consequences too often, due to the color of their skin, as the video from Minneapolis so horrifically illustrates.
I’ll admit I’ve struggled with how to discuss this with you. I’m a husband, a father and your CEO, and I feel strongly that I would not be living up to my responsibility in any of these roles if I let this moment pass without saying systemic racism is real in this country and it’s time that we become more active participants to bring about positive and lasting change.
I’d like to share with you four steps Vyaire is taking to put us on this path.
- Additional Resources: As an immediate step, we’re making reading and learning material available so that we all may have access to information that will help us better understand this issue and the steps we can take in our daily lives to be a part of a better solution.
- Formalized Learning & Development Courses: We are well on our way to building a new culture at Vyaire. That culture is going to be based on diversity and inclusion. I’m asking the Learning & Development team to create a mandatory and formalized curriculum that will chart a course for us in this area beyond what we are currently doing.
- Support for the Cause: In the coming weeks we will announce a donation to organizations working to promote social justice and inclusion. We’ll share more details later on, including how you can participate, if you wish.
- Expanding our Reach: The COVID-19 pandemic has shone yet another light on health disparities, as it disproportionately ravages communities of color. Today, I’m asking our general counsel Kevin Klemz to lead a formal, cross-functional team to examine ways Vyaire can attack these disparities, lending our expertise to further support disadvantaged communities so that we improve access to healthcare for all.
These may seem like small steps, but they represent a significant commitment. Racism isn’t endemic only to America, and there are those around the world who seek to eradicate it. This week, people in London, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris took to the streets in solidarity in what is quickly becoming a global movement. Similarly, as a global company, we’ll approach this as one team because my expectation is that the character of our company be consistent everywhere we do business. I’m incredibly proud of Vyaire, the people who work here, and am humbled to be in a position to lead.
Today, I add Vyaire’s voice to the growing chorus that unequivocally states that Black lives matter. It is my hope that you view what is happening in our country as a turning point and that you join me in actions that ensure we are building a more just society. There is a way forward, but we all must participate.
Together, we can effect change and build a more perfect world.
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