Blog Post - Jun 9, 2020
It would be difficult to remain unaware of the pain and conflict that has bubbled up in our midst these past two weeks – pain that reverberates in hearts, homes, communities, and cities across America. We feel and are grieved by this pain, affirming that what has transpired – and continues to transpire – is not just. George Floyd’s death, tragically not an isolated incident, was not just. The presence and persistence of racial injustice cannot remain acceptable or normative within our country. It has prompted us to reflect vulnerably and ask how we are compelled to respond, not only in this present moment but over time. Our great fear has been that lament of evil will not be backed with intentional commitment to address it. Therefore, we have paused as a company to consider where we go from here.
We acknowledge that we come to this place from a variety of perspectives and experiences—both as a Dairyland team and more broadly as a Live Engaged community. These perspectives are important to hold as we listen, learn, talk, foster relationships, and act. We can be more than gongs that express our outrage at what has occurred; we can actively pursue hopeful, restorative, and just solutions. As always, we will need each other and be far more effective together than alone. This is what the Live Engaged community is all about.
We also acknowledge that there are gaps in our own understanding and expertise, and have sought out and relied upon external partnerships as our model for engagement with vulnerable communities and systems. This is something we have chosen from our very beginning, and something we seek to do again now.
As Mike, Dairyland’s President, recently shared with the Dairyland family:
There is a time for clear confirmation of where we stand as a company on a justice issue as important as this one. We will continue to state to our watching and hurting world that we stand on the side of justice. Our industry knows that we have stepped out into important issues beyond electrical protection and products via Live Engaged, and now is the time to further champion change regarding injustice on our shores.
Business can be used for many purposes. Dairyland uses it to provide employment, build and sell products that perform a highly valuable safety function, and educate our industry about safety and complex applications. But we also work to influence others about pressing global needs and join other change makers to address injustice. That’s what Live Engaged is all about – the steady work of affecting real change. The George Floyd tragedy speaks of the additional work to be done.
Toward that end, we are excited to announce Equal Justice Initiative as Dairyland’s newest partner, whose work we will support, celebrate and continue to learn from. Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable in American society. Their website serves as an exceptional resource in understanding these issues.
Internally, we are also committed to an ongoing process of reflection, awareness, education, and engagement. This is work that extends beyond a week, a month, or even several months at both personal and corporate levels. As a first step, our teams will gather to watch and discuss Just Mercy – a powerful film capturing the work of Bryan Stevenson through EJI as they work tirelessly to fight racism and oppression in America. We are putting together a reflection and conversation toolkit for our team and will gladly share it, along with other resources, more broadly throughout the Live Engaged community for those who are interested. If you would like any of these resources – whether for yourself, your family, company, or another group – please reach out to us at LiveEngaged@dairyland.com. We certainly don’t have it all figured out, but we are committed to taking sustainable steps toward creating a safer and more just world.
We will continue in our pursuit to embody the Dairyland values in all that we do, affirming the inherent value of human beings with love and authenticity. Doing so will lead us into new territory, new relationships, new conversations, new self-awareness, new discomfort, new giving, and even shifts in how we spend our days. This is the hard and ongoing work of justice. It is far from complete and will require perseverance, but our commitment to living engaged compels us not to run from it.