Black Lives Matter and Beyond: Corporate Leaders Respond

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By Cecily Joseph and Jen Boynton

It would be an understatement to say the Black Lives Matter movement has left an indelible mark on America’s timeline. Social media has facilitated a society-wide awakening to existing racial inequality: Regular people throughout the country share videos – incontrovertible proof of racially-motivated police violence and the national lack of social justice it represents. The rise in documented deaths of black men and the Black Lives Matter movement provided a catalyst for a conversation we should have been having all along.

But for all too long, America’s employees of every color have left it at the door when they walk into work. Companies don’t know how to talk about this topic. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments don’t know how to address it, and don’t even know if they should. Employees come to work distracted by loss of life, inequality, fear and the unfairness of it all, and we don’t know how to support them, so we stay silent.

Additionally, in what should be a meritocracy, our nation’s businesses are in a unique position to right much of the systemic inequality through fairer hiring and equal pay for equal work. Yet well-intended diversity programs have had minimal impact.

Many of us have conversed about this topic since such events as the Charleston church massacre in June of 2015 when a white terrorist opened fire on 13 black members of a bible study group, one hour after they welcomed him to pray with them; or even further back to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager in a hoodie.

We don’t claim to have all the answers.

But we know that business leaders – and sustainability leaders – have a responsibility to look for them. Through this series, we’ll highlight solutions that work and bring experts to the table to discuss solutions we’ve yet to try from activists, consultants and corporate insiders. We’ll look up-close at challenges people of color face in the workplace and why traditional diversity programs alone are not enough. And we’ll take a wide-angle lens to the problem – looking at economic and social issues we need to overcome in the fight for true equality.

If you feel a little uncomfortable, good. We do too. Our hope in convening this conversation is to show how social inequality is a material issue for corporate social responsibility practitioners, so that we can all work together to make things better. We hope to convene a conversation to help you tackle a national problem that is, frankly, impossible for any one person or organization to solve.

But we feel a moral compulsion to try anyway. We will kick off this series next week.

We invite you to join the conversation in the comments of the articles in this series, on Twitter at @CecilyJosephCR and @JenBoynton, using #BLMandBeyond, or via email at jen@triplepundit.com. We look forward to your feedback.

Cecily Joseph, VP, Corporate Responsibility & Chief Diversity Officer, Symantec + Jen Boynton, Editor in Chief, TriplePundit

Image credit Gerry Lauzon, Flickr

Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton is editor in chief of TriplePundit. With over 6 million annual readers, TriplePundit is the leading publication on sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen received an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and a degree in Sociology from Pitzer College. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC with their sustainability communications messaging. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA -- court appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.

7 responses

  1. It’s amazing how George Soros can lead the weak by the nose. Black Lives Matter is an organization funded by Soros to the tune of 33 million and counting. The The lead founder of BLM is Alicia Garza, a young woman who candidly reveres Assata Shakur—the Marxist revolutionary, former Black Panther, and convicted cop-killer whose 1979 escape to Fidel Castro’s Cuba was facilitated by the Weather Underground Organization and the Black Liberation Army. Others whom Garza praises for their “extraordinary” accomplishments include Angela Davis (a Marxist and former Black Panther); Ella Baker (an avowed socialist who had ties to the Communist Party USA and the Weather Underground); and Audre Lorde (a black Marxist lesbian feminist). These people aren’t looking to solve any race issues that might be prevalent today. They are trying to overturn the laws in this country by protecting those like Alton Sterling, a child rapist, numerous drug dealers, and others with criminal records the length of your arm. You haven’t seen one protest for the victims of these thugs. You haven’t seen one rally to voice their concern about their communities and the crime they face. What you do see is an organization that will be remembered for this chant……What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now!

    1. If we focus on this issue as white vs black then we miss the point. Human rights are at issue here. I can find many “thugs” white or black with a tainted past as well but I do not go shooting them down because we have laws. I would hate to think that cops have become “a gang” that is above the law and can shoot anyone they profile to be a possible threat. The phrase Black lives Matter should really be Black Lives “Also” Matter so as not to offend any other race.

  2. Ok, how freakishly stupid are the authors of this article?? Just go to the very first paragraph wherein the author suggests that the “…rise in deaths of black men…” is because of police racism and police brutality??? Are you kidding me? Let’s see here… 500 MURDERS in the city of Chicago alone so far this year, and 438 of all of those MURDERS are a result of BLACK-N BLACK Crime!! That means a bunch of black animal thugs are killing other blacks. And you have the balls to write that the police are somehow the culprits of increased “black men deaths”??? You are a lunatic and it’s people like you that drink the Kool-Aid that our black president is selling. Oh by the way, I’m a 52 year old black man, who happens to be a conservative and think that the blacks crying and whining about police brutality need to shut up and start helping our brothers in the urban areas. And here’s an idea for black men…. stop breaking the law and maybe you own’ get shot by police!!! Holy crap, how blind do you have to be before you see the truth ?

  3. Jen,

    I’m not sure of what ‘incontrovertible proof’ that you speak of as all of what you state can easily be refuted.

    People simply need to do their due diligence of research to comprehend that black victimization is nothing more than a myth instead of blindly following PC culture that makes them feel oh-so self-righteous blaming everyone else for the plight of blacks.

    People should consider that blacks make up 13% of the US population yet commit 50% of the violent crimes. Or that they decry blacks being stopped by police more when they can’t comprehend that police stop blacks more because they have to patrol high-crime neighborhoods that are predominantly occupied by, yes, blacks.

    Or how about the fact there are studies showing black are less likely to be shot than a white person in a confrontation with police. Search for ‘Harvard Study Finds No Racial Bias In Police Shooting’ conducted by a black professor. Factors that were said to influence this was fear of social persecution, fear of financial losses, and fear of criminal charges. There are more studies on both sides of this argument, so we must do more research before we all make assumptions that blacks are being unfairly targeted by police.

    And what happens when cops don’t patrol these high-crime neighothoods? After black race riots in Baltimore and Chicago police scaled back patrols in troubled neighborhoods and then of course crime skyrocketed. Afterwards residents complained that police weren’t doing their jobs and ignoring their neighborhoods; can you believe that, damned if they do and damned if they don’t!

    Or how about the fact that more blacks are killed in a single weekend by other blacks across the US than all blacks killed by police (overwhelming all justified) in the last five years. Or that black culture places no value on education and their kids routinely drop out of or flunk high school. Or that the myth of black victimization has led to black on white racism. Search for ‘white attacked by black mob’ and look at some of the stories if you can stomach it. Or even suggesting anything that might offend blacks can lead to confrontations, always loud, threatening, and sometimes violent. Search for ‘Yale professor mobbed by students’. That’s acceptable behavior for blacks today because of the racist BLM movement.

    Or that blacks have more laws and legal groups ‘protecting’ their rights than all other races in the US combined. Or explain why they believe blacks can’t succeed when we have a black POTUS, black Supreme Court Justice, black lawyers, black doctors, black Senators, black Representatives, black mayors, black city council members, black police chiefs, black police, black firemen, etc. I think they got there because of hard work and education, am I wrong? How did that happen in this racist country they protest against?

    Perpetuating this myth of black victimization only hurts blacks themselves. The poverty level has fluctuated between 11 and 15% since 1970 and in the last 8 years has hovered around 14%. Why? Because instead of emphasizing education and personal responsibility this false story-line encourages blacks to stand back, blame everyone else for their problems, and resort to confrontations, many times violent, when anyone dares to question them. The end result? Blacks stay in poverty and stand with their hands out waiting for others to solve their problems.

    I hope you can do some research so you understand this issue and report on it more factually.

  4. Ignorant commentators. You are so right, unlike white people who steal peoples lives, destroy civilizations and commit atrocities around the world. There’s a reason the term “White devil” was coined.

    Only white people could’ve perpetrated the killing of human beings based on their Jewish faith. Every where whitey goes people die. Columbus arrived in the Americas, complete decimation of an entire people, Europeans in the middle east, people are dead and keep dying.

    Frankly i’m fascinated that you even have the time to comment on this article, shouldn’t you be trying to put some people in your oven and gas them, for not smelling like you, or they probably speak a different language. The problem with people who hate is, they can’t even live with themselves.

    1. Igraine, your myopic viewpoint and limited understanding of history shows you are truly the ignorant one. You can’t start and stop at whites when you talk of stealing peoples lives, destroying civilizations and committing atrocities.

      Have you ever heard of the Berbers, the Egyptians, or the Nubian’s? They are a few of the earliest African civilizations and raped, pillaged, and destroyed their neighbors. The Nubians and Egyptians were both especially brutal through their histories. In fact slavery rose from Africa and the Middle East if you want to talk about stealing lives. Yet ignorant people seem to look at the US and think they were the only ones that had a slave trade. Heck, even today slavery is by far more prevalent in Africa and the Middle East than anywhere else is the world. So quit thinking African nations did not try to ever conquer others, they did, they were simply too far behind their neighbors in intellect and technology to succeed.

      Heck, the only reason the Europeans successfully colonized most of the world is they embraced science and technology when Africa and the MIddleEast turned their backs on it. Middle Eastern civilization was more advanced than European civilization up until approximately the 1200s and 1300s. Had it not been for the rise of Islam the world might have been colonized by Middle East civilizations. I doubt African nations would done so as aside from Egypt they struggled with science and new technologies. But again it wasn’t for lack or trying, they simply waged war and violence on each other in primitive tribal clashes.

      Yet the rise of Islam resulted in war based on religion, similar to Christianity and just as violent and brutal, albeit on a smaller scale. Then Islam’s proclamation that all one needed to know was in the Quran resulted in Islamists destroying most signs of science and learning in the Middle East and northern Africa. Thank goodness that many of Greek’s great minds escaped this and fled to Europe to help bring about the European Renaissance.

      By the way, you say ‘Only white people could’ve perpetrated the killing of human beings based on their Jewish faith’, are you forgetting all the blacks killing people of any faith, including Judaism, Christianity, Hindu, etc. for their non-belief in Islam?

      Honestly, your comment shows such a simplistic, one-sided view of how world history unfolded. What I have shared with you is ‘incontrovertible proof’ that you are speaking of things you simply don’t comprehend. Research, learn, work to improve yourself and don’t let these lies hold you down like so many of the left and opportunists such as the media, Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson want them to. Sharpton,and Jackson both have a net worth of $10 million preying on social lies and unrest; they are getting rich and powerful on your suffering and are your true enemy.

      I hope you can understand the truth here and help yourself. Peace

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