“The murder of George Floyd has unleashed the pent-up pain of years, as have the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. We say their names and hold a too-long list of others in our hearts. As a Target team, we’ve huddled, we’ve consoled, we’ve witnessed horrific scenes similar to what’s playing out now and wept that not enough is changing. And as a team we’ve vowed to face pain with purpose.”
-Brian Cornell, CEO, TargetSource
“I share the anger and pain felt by so many Americans at the recent killings of unarmed black men and women. Racism and brutality have no place in America. Yet these incidents still occur. And they impact people well beyond those directly affected by such tragedies. Including people at our company. I absolutely believe we are stronger when we embrace our differences, and now is an important time to do just that.”
-Mike Wirth, CEO, Chevron CorporationSource
“Together with our teams and players, we will continue our efforts to promote inclusion and bridge divides through collective action, civic engagement, candid dialogue and support for organizations working toward justice and equality. We will work hand-in-hand to create programs and build partnerships in every NBA community that address racial inequity and bring people together.”
-Adam Silver, NBA CommissionerSource
“[...] our actions matter, and so we must recommit to our shared values of diversity and inclusion. At McDonald’s, our doors are open to everyone, and we exclude nobody.”
- Joe Erlinger, President, McDonalds
“Our voice would be nothing without Black culture. Right now, a lot of people are hurting because of blatant racism against Black people. Their voices need to be heard. Period. #BlackLivesMatter”
"For once, don’t do it. Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent. Don’t think you can’t be part of the change. Let’s all be part of the change."
We need more than talk! In the aftermath of the police murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, almost every major corporation has released a statement against racism. But company values or statements mean nothing unless they’re backed up by the leadership, the payroll, and their internal operations.
Corporate statements and brand posturing is not the change Black people need. For far too long, corporations have polluted the air quality of Black neighborhoods. They’ve denied Black workers paid sick leave, wages that match the cost of living, equal board and leadership representation, and protection from harassment—all while exploiting Black labor for millions in profits and shareholder payouts. Yearly, corporations deny employees a basic quality of living by paying state minimum wages of $5.15 to $13.50 per hour, while the average cost of living continues to climb.
Wages for Black people have been nearly stagnant for over a decade. In fact, the federal minimum wage has not equaled the cost of living since 1968. The House of Representatives is pushing for $15 an hour by 2025, yet corporations have the power and resources to pay their employees a living wage now, especially during the global pandemic as many are risking their health and lives as frontline workers in these industries.
Corporations bear responsibility for the violence, harm, and discrimination Black people face, whether they carry it out, enable it, or profit from it. Take action to demand these corporations correct the harm their policies, practices, and business models cause Black employees, families, and communities.
Fast food corporations
McDonald’s, Chick fil A and Burger King: If Black lives matter, pay your Black employees
Most restaurants do not offer employees a living wage. With a recession on the horizon and wholly insufficient legislative stimulus-response, many Black and vulnerable families face a loss of income and imploding household expenses with the likelihood of mounting debt to follow. Fast-food companies have been extremely vocal about standing in solidarity against racism, but it's time these corporations put action behind these words and pay employees a living wage.
Nike: It’s time to move #BeyondTheStatement
Nike is one of the many corporations that has released poignant statements about how much they value Black lives during mass protests but still don’t pay all of their employees, who are disproportionately Black, a living wage. It’s not enough. Any company that has released a statement championing equity and decrying racism needs to take a good look at how injustice plays out in their own structures.
Tell retail companies to pay reparations, not shareholders
When COVID-19 stay-at-home orders began, so did the layoffs. Retail workers have been some of the hardest hit, losing their previously reliable income as many large corporations closed operations at several of their facilities. Despite retail giants like Caterpillar, Stanley Black & Decker, and Steelcase doing this, they have almost simultaneously paid large dividends to their shareholders. So, while shareholders got an additional check, hourly and low-wage workers were laid off in droves!
Tell all NBA team owners to pay all laid-off arena workers!
Black workers disproportionately make up the low-wage hourly workforce which includes the vast majority of game-day employees. Over forty percent of hourly workers lack any savings and over 75% of them have less than $500 saved for emergencies. With decisions to restart the NBA season looming, this economic uncertainty will likely wipe out any savings these employees have and force them to take on toxic debt or make difficult choices around food and medical care. And because of the systemic lack of healthcare and economic infrastructure in many Black communities, Black people are at a particular risk for the extensive harm this pandemic will cause.
Energy companies must be held accountable for the effects of coronavirus on Black communities.
Chevron and many other energy companies must correct the harm environmental racism has had on Black folk, one of the most targeted racial groups in the country, by acknowledging the varying ways their operation has polluted the very air Black people breathe. Before coronavirus, air pollutants silently chipped away at the health of communities that are now faced with compound inequalities such as implicit bias in care, lack of testing sites, and predatory debt collection due to mass pandemic layoffs. A statement against racism isn’t enough.
Tell Banks to Stop Underwriting Racism
Citibank, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and other Wall Street banks have been tripping over themselves to demonstrate their support for racial justice. From taking a knee to making billion-dollar donations, Wall Street is trying to affirm their commitment to inclusion and support for Black lives. Centuries of racist banking policies have led to racialized costs of banking for Black people. These racialized costs have led to Black people being racially profiled and targeted for cashing a check over certain amounts; being denied mortgage applications that would have been approved for white people, encountering higher interest rates for loans, and not receiving justly due promotions and advancement opportunities. Not to mention, a number of financial institutions have a legacy tied to slavery. If the financial industry is serious about its commitment, it can stop being an underwriter for racism.
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