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CEO DATELINE – Associations call for end to ‘racial injustice’ amid nationwide protests

June 1, 2020
By Walt Williams

Multiple associations are urging people to stand against racism and injustice as the nation reels from protests triggered by the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody.

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Business Roundtable issued a statement Saturday saying that its member CEOs “share the anger and pain felt by so many Americans at the recent killings of unarmed black men and women.” The group called for an end to racial injustice, adding “racism and brutality have no place in America.”

“We grieve for the families, friends and communities of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others. These tragedies reflect longstanding racial injustice in our country,” the group said. (Arbery was a black jogger shot to death in February by two white men who were later arrested after video footage of the incident went public.)

National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons issued a lengthy statement the same day saying that for many people in the U.S., “images of oppression and loss is what ‘normal’ looks like.”

“There are too many among us who believe there are those who are ‘less than’ or not worthy of humanity, dignity and equal justice,” Timmons said. “To turn a blind eye to this blatant bigotry and to not do all we can to eradicate it, makes us less than human. It undermines all that America stands for.”

Timmons added that NAM does not condone the violence or destruction that has taken place in some cities. “But we absolutely stand hand in hand with all those who seek respect, fairness and the right to equality of opportunity that America has promised for centuries and that, even now, has not been delivered to all her citizens.”

The American Geophysical Union issued a joint statement from its board leadership decrying Floyd’s killing

“Floyd’s death is not the first, and unfortunately likely will not be the last time that we will see such clear brutality and racism,” they said. “Even though the situation most recently occurred in the U.S., we have seen it around the world. Tragically, this is only the latest example of a systematic problem of rules, laws and cultures created so that some individuals are not encouraged or supported to thrive or even survive.”

Sara Goza, president of the American Academic of Pediatrics, issued a statement to members pointing to scientific studies showing that racism harms children’s mental and physical health “in myriad ways.”

“We are watching this play out now, in real time, and we cannot avoid a deep examination of how to improve the role of policing,” she said. “Systemic violence requires systemic responses.”

Kristine Stratton, CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association, said her industry needs to be a “leading voice” for social equality and inclusion.

“It saddens me that during a time when we should be coming together as a unified nation to keep one another healthy and safe in the midst of a global pandemic, racial bias threatens to sow further division among people across multiple communities, and more importantly, endanger the lives of our family members, neighbors and loved ones,” Stratton said. “The goal of parks and recreation is about making parks and green spaces accessible to all, regardless of race, gender, religion or socioeconomics.”