Washington Business Journal: George Floyd, racism, protests spur comments from biz leaders

For far too many of us, the racial injustice displayed by George Floyd’s death is nothing new.
As thousands raised their voices in protest against racism and police brutality around the nation, and here in Washington, we asked our local business community to look inward and answer this question:
What can we do as business leaders to come together and move our community forward?
I was astounded by the volume of responses we received. They flowed in from executives representing a wide range of organizations, from small nonprofits to billions-dollar brands. They spanned geographies and ethnicities. For some, they stemmed from thoughtful memos put forth to their staffs. For others, they were passionate gut reactions to a tragedy that hits too close to home.
And they all bore a unified theme: These incidents are unacceptable and must be declared so from corporate chambers. This time, the business community must act, must play a role in pushing society into a stronger, more equitable era.
There is no more room for silence.
To read their powerful words, click or tap the photos below, arranged in alphabetical order by last name. If the page isn’t loading, please refresh your browser. If it looks like you’re on a blank screen, just scroll up. And most importantly, if you have more to add to what may be one of the most imperative conversations of our collective lives and careers, please email your thoughts and responses to Editor-in-Chief Vandana Sinha at vsinha@bizjournals.com.
Irma Becerra,
President, Marymount University
As we follow the troubling situation that began in Minneapolis with the death of George Floyd, I am reminded of the 1980 Miami riots following the death of Arthur McDuffie as a result of police brutality. Not much has changed in the 40 years since. Sadly, this senseless and unnecessary killing is just the latest example of brutality and violence that targets people of color in the U.S. Now, protests and demonstrations have spread across the country, highlighting our collective pain and grief.

As I experience sadness and dismay from witnessing these tragic events, I continue to wonder what more we can do to combat these sinful acts. At Marymount University, we are a community that thrives on diversity and inclusivity. It is who we are, and it is a source of our strength.
The founder of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM), Father [Jean] Gailhac, pledged to follow a mission which would strive to ensure “that all may have life, and have it to the full.” We too must advocate for the sanctity of life and the dignity of our brothers and sisters. We too must join the calls for justice in the face of such despair. Each one of us has the ability to channel our anger and sorrow into peaceful and effective action against racism.

We at Marymount know that values-based education and training is the cure for ignorance-based racism. This Wednesday, we held a virtual prayer vigil to honor black lives that have been lost. We also hosted a listening session called “Saints in Solidarity,” which functioned as a space to acknowledge the trauma of systemic violence against people of color. As we move forward, the Marymount community will continue to look at new ways to engage our members to be a force for good and stand against racial injustice.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a quote from Archbishop Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington, which calls on all of us to play a role in being the change you want to see in the world: “We must examine our own attitudes and actions in order to seek conversion from sin and turn our hearts towards Christ in order to end personal and structural racism. Now, and every day, we must pray to find the strength to do what is right and just as we encounter our neighbors from a culture, country, religion, race or experience different than our own and see in them God’s creative design.”
Our diversity makes us strong. We support and embrace our community and will move forward together.

Read the original article on the Washington Business Journal’s website.