It is with a heavy heart that I send this message. For those who live in Minnesota, the past week has been difficult and emotional, to say the least. As a Minneapolis-based company, we have many employees who are impacted by what is happening.
Minneapolis was the spark for unrest after the senseless murder of George Floyd, but what is occurring in Minnesota is not unique to Minneapolis. Sadly, this has been and could be any city in America on any day. I, like every Black person in this country, feel this deeply and understand what is happening on every level. This could have been our son, husband, father, brother, uncle, or another beloved member of our families. We are each having very hard conversations with our young children in living rooms and around kitchen tables about what is happening. This has been a reality for centuries, and we are exhausted.
I want you to know that every American is being called to do more. We must realize how we got here. This is years of oppression, mistreatment, and inequality being expressed. I personally wish it were not resulting in riots and more loss. But the voices against racism, fear, violence, and injustice MUST be heard. Until those voices are heard, the volume will only continue to get louder.
Today, I ask each person reading this to think about the role you will play going forward. Here are some places to start. Recognize and stand against any injustice you see. Ensure you are not perpetuating any hurtful or false rhetoric about those who are using their voices to affect change. And respect and value EVERY human life as if it were your own.
Please stay safe as we are still in the midst of a pandemic. But know that this is yet another moment in American history we cannot ignore. For if we do, history will continue to repeat itself.
Sending my thoughts and prayers to each of you.
Anne Sempowski Ward