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After Chauvin verdict, business leaders speak out saying fight for racial justice must continue


People raise their fists and hold a portrait of George Floyd during a rally following the guilty verdict the trial of Derek Chauvin on April 20, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Elijah Nouvelage | AFP | Getty Images

In tweets, corporate statements and letters to their employees, some of the nation’s top business leaders are expressing relief at the guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd. They are also calling for the country to continue to fight against systemic racism and for police reform.

Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges, including second-degree murder and third-degree murder, on Tuesday.

Last spring, Floyd’s murder catalyzed Black Lives Matter protests across the country and the globe. A video taken by a teenage bystander, Darnella Frazier, outside of a Minneapolis convenience store, showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes. In Floyd’s final moments, he struggled to breathe and called out for his mother.

As protestors marched in the streets, companies faced scrutiny for their own records on racial equity. They were pushed to do more than simply put out statements — prompting a series of corporate commitments from overhauling how companies recruit and hire Black employees to backing mandatory de-escalation training for police.

Here is a round-up of reactions to the Chauvin verdict by business leaders and companies, in alphabetical order:

American Airlines

Apple

—Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said on his personal Twitter account

Best Buy

Business Roundtable

Cisco

—Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO, said on his personal Twitter account

Facebook

“Right now I’m thinking of George Floyd, his family and those who knew him. I hope this verdict brings some measure of comfort to them, and to everyone who can’t help but see themselves in his story. We stand in solidarity with you, knowing that this is part of a bigger struggle against racism and injustice.”

—Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook said in a post on the social media site

“A small measure of justice was done today. But real justice would be for George Floyd to be alive and in the arms of his family. This brutal tragedy is one page in the much larger story of systemic racism, oppression, and injustice in our country.

As we continue to regularly witness unarmed Black people in America killed by police, I stand with those demanding change. We can’t un-see what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd. We can’t un-know the truth it exposed about racism in America today. And we can’t mustn’t ever forget. There can be no true justice in America until liberty and equality are real for everyone.

My thoughts are with George Floyd’s family today, and with so many other families who are missing their loved ones today.”

—Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook said in a post on the social media site

Ford

General Motors

—Mary Barra, General Motors CEO, said on her personal Twitter account

Intel

—Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO, said on his personal Twitter account, echoing the company’s support of congressional action on police reform and advocacy for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Salesforce

—Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce and owner of Time, quoting from a story by Time journalist Janell Ross

Target

“The murder of George Floyd last Memorial Day felt like a turning point for our country. The solidarity and stand against racism since then have been unlike anything I’ve experienced. Like outraged people everywhere, I had an overwhelming hope that today’s verdict would provide real accountability. Anything short of that would have shaken my faith that our country had truly turned a corner.

Today’s guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is another sign of forward progress. As I think about the Minneapolis Police Department denouncing the brutality George Floyd faced, and the disgrace expressed by multiple witnesses, the jury’s verdict reassures me that we will not go backward.

Sadly, this kind of tragedy did not end last May 25, and our country has a lot of work to do and a long way to go. I can’t imagine how difficult these months have been for the family and friends of George Floyd. They are very much in my thoughts, and I hope today’s verdict offers some measure of solace.

I am also thinking about our Black team members in particular. I know this trial cannot erase the pain that comes from years of inequalities and inequities. What I want to offer today is my promise that we as a company will continue to use our values and actions to advance empathy and understanding and to confront individual bias and systemic racism. Today’s verdict does not mean that our work is done. There’s much more to do as we support healing in our hometown of Minneapolis and across the country. We have to keep moving forward, together, toward a safe and equitable future for all.”

—Letter sent to employees Tuesday night by Target CEO Brian Cornell

Twilio

—Jeff Lawson, CEO and co-founder of Twilio, said on his personal Twitter account

Uber

—Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO, said on his personal Twitter account

Wells Fargo

Zoom



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