Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) executives today urged U.S. employees to talk, listen and take action against racism and violence, citing Monday’s death of a black man while in police custody in Minneapolis.
George Floyd, 46, died while a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck and bystanders pleaded for the officer to stop. One witness’s video showed the handcuffed Floyd saying, “I can’t breathe,” and asking for his mother. The officer was arrested today and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to the Hennepin County (Minn.) Attorney.
In an open letter to employees, Boston Scientific noted that it has about 9,000 workers in the Minneapolis area, which this week has been the scene of protests and riots in which several buildings, including a police precinct, were burned down.
“George Floyd’s death reflects deeply ingrained, long-standing divisions in our society. And it comes at a time when the pandemic has given rise to hate and xenophobia around the world, with rampant acts of violence across the nation, and the spread of misinformation, racial stereotyping and fear. Sadly, George Floyd is one of many who have recently died because of injustice,” CEO Mike Mahoney said in the letter. “As an executive committee, we feel compelled to condemn injustice and discrimination and to reaffirm our commitment to live by our values and cultivate a workplace that makes equality, diversity and openness priorities — a workplace that sets an example for the greater community.”
“The tragic and unnecessary death of George Floyd has devastated our community, causing anger, disbelief and fear,” added members of the company’s executive committee. “Minneapolis is not just where we work. It is a place many of us call home and where many of us raise families. We grieve what has happened in our city and the division it has wrought.
“George Floyd’s death calls for us to condemn injustice and discrimination and to reaffirm our commitment to live by our values and cultivate a workplace that makes equality, diversity, and openness priorities — a workplace that sets an example for the greater community. His death is yet another reminder that we must continue to listen and learn from one another in safe and inclusive environments — and with respect for different perspectives and backgrounds.”
The executives said company leaders will increase talks with employee resource groups around the world and asked employees to act when they experience or witness intolerance, mistreatment or bias, to create an inclusive work environment and to process their feelings.
“We are in the business of advancing science for life — for people of every background, color and creed,” the letter concludes. “It’s critical that we continue to talk about discrimination and injustice because dialogue — and action — is the path to a better future.”
You can read the entire letter here.