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To our employees, artists, songwriters, clients and partners: History teaches us that human beings are capable of evil. When we see it, we must call it what it is, repudiate it, and reject it. The recent senseless deaths in the United States of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Ms. Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Mr. […]
To our employees, artists, songwriters, clients and partners:
History teaches us that human beings are capable of evil. When we see it, we must call it what it is, repudiate it, and reject it. The recent senseless deaths in the United States of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Ms. Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Mr. George Floyd in Minnesota, add to the unconscionable list of African Americans who have lost their lives based on the color of their skin. Similar abhorrent acts against the Black community have occurred in Canada and the United Kingdom – where we conduct business – as well as many other countries.
Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed as he was jogging through his neighborhood. It was Arbery’s race that led to his being stopped, and ultimately to his death. Breonna Taylor was shot while asleep in her own home. George Floyd died while restrained by three police officers with a knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while a fourth officer stood watch. Then there was Christian Cooper who was merely birdwatching in Central Park in New York. Race was used by a white woman to weaponize a police force to respond to a 911 call identifying a threat to her life.
Immense hurt, grief, and anger has been felt by people in the United States, and around the world, but especially by Black communities, and it must be acknowledged. To target someone because of their skin color is reprehensible and wrong. It must not be condoned, perpetuated, or accepted. These events, which are also part of the Black experience in Canada and the United Kingdom, moves to the forefront once again our greatest and longest standing challenge—systemic racism in our society.
At Anthem, we unequivocally condemn racism, bigotry, and discrimination. We reject hatred—whatever the form—and also reject as evil any ideology that some lives matter less than others. As we come together, attend to the frustration and pain, it is Anthem's responsibility to ensure that everyone feels respected, feels supported, and can thrive. For Anthem to be great, we must put ourselves in the shoes of others and treat them as we want to be treated. It means righting injustices and encouraging others to do the same. It also means being involved in the communities where Anthem employees live and work.
Our success as a company depends upon our ability to listen, learn, and act, and that includes continuing the journey to identify, confront, and end systemic racism. This requires a commitment to real and lasting change—individually and institutionally. We will assess our workplace, work with each of our business units on diversity, equity and inclusion, and correct any misalignment with our values. Facing our difficult truths also means that we must participate in community conversations to eliminate any forms of institutional racism. This work begins immediately, and we will be transparent in our process and in our progress. We stand with all of you in our collective pain from this moment and too many others, and we are committed to working on our racial healing and understanding together.
It’s not only what we say, it’s what we do. Together, we have established a long list of organizations who support Black communities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and will benefit from the matching donation program we announced last week. With your input, we have expanded this list to include over 35 organizations. This is the beginning of a more comprehensive exploration of how Anthem can better promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and combat systemic anti-Black racism.
I welcome your suggestions.
Chief Executive Officer
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