A Letter to Employees on the Death of George Floyd
Today I sent an update to our staff which included a message about the George Floyd murders and systemic racism. After some discussion, I’ve decided to just share it here, as is. I want our followers to know where we stand and how we communicate inside our company. The message is the same whether its to our customers, community or our team members. Thank you for your support and continue to be safe and be kind. -Joe W.
It’s been a while since I’ve sent out an update to everyone, and with everything that’s been going on on top of COVID I thought it would be a good idea to check in with you all.
Systemic Racism & George Floyd Murder
Like many of you, I was sickened to watch the killing of George Floyd happen in broad daylight by a uniformed officer, while other officers did nothing. I have also been unsure of how to best attend to this issue (which yes, is not at all new). I’ve been listening, watching and searching for some concrete ways to respond. The issue is complex, multi-faceted and OLD.
While I do not intend to bring politics into our company culture, I do think it’s important to call out racism and hate when we see it, and to be able to have an environment in our company culture in which we feel comfortable having open conversations about difficult issues. At GCM we are helpers at heart – I hope that you have taken the time to comfort a friend or co-worker who might need it during this time.
I am asking each of you – if you have not yet done so – to take a moment to appreciate the systemic racism that is the only plausible explanation for not only the killing of George Floyd, but for many before him and for the continued overly violent outcomes we are seeing across the country as the unrest continues. If it were just a few “bad apples,” then it would not keep repeating itself, over and over again, across the country in cities large and small.
This type of racial hatred and violence is the antithesis of everything we stand for. What we choose not to say is sometimes more powerful than what we do say, and that’s why I’m sharing this with you – to make clear where I stand and where this company stands.
So far, what we’ve done as a company to respond to this issue is to post a link on our Facebook page to Black-owned businesses in Maine we can all support. This is a start, but it’s not enough. I will be exploring ways we can contribute to the conversation publicly in a way that is constructive and concrete. Your suggestions are welcome and needed, as multiple perspectives are more important than ever in this case.
I will also continue to listen, watch and educate myself – and advocate for positive change through my advocacy work, with the goal of looking inward – at our company – to see what we can do better. Like with COVID, we want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
If you have been impacted by these and other recent events and are in need of professional support, please reach out to Jess, who can connect you with our EAP resources, which include free mental health counseling. I want for each of you to take advantage of the help that is available, if and when you need it.
COVID-19 Safety outside of Work
Some of you have been active in the recent protests, during which social distancing is not possible. There are ways to continue to stay safe, and it’s important to me that you are all equipped with the knowledge necessary to lead in our community with COVID-19 safety.
I also know it’s been a month for some of you, since you returned to work, so a little reminder is due for everyone!
So, I’ve attached a poster with some extra precautions to take, brought to you by a community group from New York City that brings PPE to front-line workers (thank you, Jess, for the resource).
Many of these reminders apply to everyone, please review!
Please note that Harvard-Pilgrim (our Health Insurer) can provide access to COVID-19 testing. Jess can provide information if needed.