Our Commitment to a Lasting Change
Like you, I am heartbroken and outraged by the events of the past few days. It saddens me even more that the senseless killing of George Floyd wasn’t an isolated incident, but more painful evidence of the persistent, unequal treatment of the Black community that has claimed the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and countless others.
Their deaths affect and lessen all of us. Racism won’t be simply wished away. It will continue to grow and spread until each of us takes a stand against it. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” If we are truly going to make things better, then none of us can be content to accept injustice or inequality for any one of us.
To our colleagues that are hurting, you are not alone. We have resources to help you, such as our Employee Assistance Program; so please reach out. We are here for you.
For all of us, the events over the past few days have seemed overwhelming. But we can move forward if we take steps together. I want to be clear about where we stand – where I stand – and steps we need to take.
It begins with first reexamining our own views and actions and calling out unconscious bias in our own lives. We have the power and responsibility to create a culture where hate and discrimination have no place. The feeling I want all of you to have when you come to work is a sense of belonging, acceptance, and safety. We should not be satisfied with ourselves until we are together dismantling the systemic structures that allow inequality to remain a fixture in our society.
We must get involved within our company. One way is to join an Eastman Resource Group. Be an ally. Talk to one another and listen – truly listen to the experiences of others. Inclusion and diversity are core values at Eastman. We only honor those values when we make each member of the Eastman team feel they belong, and their voices are heard. Through our words and actions, show our colleagues that they matter and are a valued part of the Eastman team.
We must also get involved in our communities by being leaders to drive positive change. Inclusive cultures cannot thrive without inclusive societies that are welcoming, safe and free of discrimination. We must lead by example, peacefully and in unity.
This isn’t someone else’s issue. This is our issue. Let us all commit to creating lasting change so that future generations will not know bias and rampant racism. This better world can only exist if we take steps toward it together. Please know that I walk with all of you.
Board Chair and CEO