The death of George Floyd after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes has brought chaos to the US. Riots and protests against the killing along with racial injustice are happening in nearly every city in the US almost daily.

Now Hollywood stars, politicians, and even big companies from around the world have given their support to organizations and protesters against the killing and general discrimination. Some have even issued statements condemning the killing of Floyd and the continued discrimination and incidences of racism against African-Americans and other ethnicities. One of the most recent companies to issue a statement is Ford Motor Company.

Ford’s executive chairman, Bill Ford, and CEO Jim Hackett wrote a joint letter to employees addressing the issue of Floyd’s death and “systemic racism” that is still on-going in the US. The letter was not just sent to Ford employees in the US, but to their global workforce including dealers and suppliers. Specifically, they said that “racism has no place in society” and that they “cannot turn a blind eye to it or accept some sense of ‘order’ that’s based on oppression”.

Ford has thousands of employees in the US alone, all of which come from different races, cultures, and diversities. As such, the automaker is offering help to its employees and members of the workforce that are “struggling with fear and despair” during these troubling times. They have even employees invited them to talk and share ideas on how to improve operations and how to make a more inclusive work environment. 

Ford execs address racism, George Floyd’s death in letter to employees image

You may read the full letter from Ford Chairman William Ford Jr. and Ford CEO Jim Hackett below.

Ford Team,

This is an extraordinary moment in our history. All at once, we are grappling with a public health crisis that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, an economic shock that has forced us to adapt on the fly, and social upheaval that has challenging all of us to think and act differently.

In the midst of this, the tragic killing of George Floyd, compounded by other senseless killings over the years, has sparked the expression of decades of collective anger and frustration over the unacceptable abuse of power and authority. This pain is felt across the communities our employees call home.

There is no doubt that the weight of these challenges disproportionately fall on the black community. We have seen this disparity among our own Ford team members affected by COVID-19, and the legacy of economic disparities in our own home city of Detroit. It is pain that many of our team members have long felt in their daily lives.

There are no easy answers. We are not interested in superficial actions. This is our moment to lead from the front and fully commit to creating the fair, just and inclusive culture that our employees deserve.

Ford, and our labor partners, especially the UAW, have shown leadership on diversity and inclusion over the years. Building on this, and the work of the Ford Motor Company Fund in black communities, there is much more we can do together.

Today is the start of an even deeper dialogue within Ford on these critical issues. We will be meeting with employees across the company, including engaging with the Ford African Ancestry Network (FAAN). We also plan to ask leaders throughout the company to hold dialogues with their teams to understand how people are feeling and discuss how we can get better together. We promise to share updates as we continue on this journey. 

We are a company made up of extraordinary people of every race, religion, and background, all worthy of the same dignity. We view our differences as one of our great strengths. We are a team – not in word, but in bond.

And while we would like to say that racism has no place in our society, we know that systemic racism still exists despite the progress that has been made. We cannot turn a blind eye to it or accept some sense of “order” that’s based on oppression. 

Many of us cannot know what it is truly like to be part of a community of color, to know what it is like to be afraid for our children every time they leave the house, or to worry that this day might be our last. But as long as so many of our colleagues, our friends, live with that fear, how can we live with ourselves? As long as we have the privilege to breathe, it’s on all of us to summon new levels of empathy and humanity.

Finally, we want to say to anyone struggling with fear and despair, we have resources that can help. Please visit @FordOnline and see below for more information.

In a time of hardship and upheaval, one thing is for certain: we remain a family and a company that is stronger together and committed to racial and social justice.

Thank you for all you do for Ford Motor Company.

Bill and Jim