By Linda Rendle, CEO – The Clorox Company
I’m sickened by the continued, brutal attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) that have led to the deaths of eight people in Atlanta. And discussions on whether to classify their murders as hate crimes have only deepened the frustration and pain felt by their families and the AAPI community.
It is devastating that so many people rightly feel anger, and sadly feel fear right now — fear for their loved ones, especially when their parents or grandparents are simply stepping out in their communities.
I recently shared with Clorox employees that I’m proud of how Clorox people came together over the past year — through times of heartache and the times of joy. I believe we’re a better company for it. And while we’re not out of the woods just yet, we’re seeing encouraging COVID-19 trends.
But there’s no immediate inoculation against systemic racism. In the last year, its existence has become more pronounced, and with tragic consequences. As a society, we’ve only just started talking about the experiences of the AAPI community. In 2020, even though hate crimes were down overall in the U.S., those against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were up over 100%.
Clearly, there’s a lot of hard work to be done immediately and longer term. As our Chief People Officer Kirsten Marriner said a few weeks ago, we must continue to support our teammates and speak out against racism — whether at work or in our communities. This reflects our commitment to do more and be better, and to do the right thing.
Racial Justice is going to be a permanent focus area of The Clorox Company Foundation going forward. Accordingly, we’re committing $100,000 to organizations that support the AAPI community and advocate for human rights policies.
And, among other actions we’re taking as part of our Inclusion & Diversity commitments, we’re offering Breaking Bias: Courageous Conversations webinars to our employees, building on our previous Breaking Bias lessons. The themes are: Broaden Perspectives, Speak up, and Restore Trust. This program is one of the many ways we’re working to create an inclusive and diverse culture that’s critical to our company’s IGNITE strategy and foundational to our purpose.
The road ahead to address systemic racism will be hard. But if we don’t prioritize this as a society, we won’t be living up to our full potential. And as a company, we won’t be living up to our purpose. Clorox is all in.