By KKR Jun 02, 2020
Yesterday, KKR’s leadership team shared the below message with all employees globally in response to recent events.
June 1st marks the beginning of Pride month, a time when KKR celebrates the progress the human race has made on equality and condemns injustice against anyone. Unfortunately, we have seen a series of horrific events over the past several months and last week, in particular, that feel like anything but progress.
Since December 2019, the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen many hate crimes, and a rise in racism and xenophobia. These are real headlines [links intentionally removed]:
- Coronavirus: Chinese targeted as Italians panic, BBC, February 4, 2020
- France In Grips Of Racism Epidemic, As Coronavirus Fans Anti-Asian Hysteria, Forbes, February 11, 2020
- Coronavirus: Teens arrested over 'racially aggravated' attack, BBC News, March 6, 2020
- 'I don't feel safe in my country': Teenagers bottled in racist attack at North Shore park, New Zealand Herald, March 12, 2020
- Covid-19 Backlash Targets LGBT People in South Korea, Human Rights Watch, May 13, 2020
- Hong Kong student accused of having coronavirus was 'punched for wearing a face mask', ABC News, March 20, 2020
- As the world looks for coronavirus scapegoats, Muslims are blamed in India, Washington Post, April 23, 2020
- Christian Cooper shouldn’t need a Harvard degree to survive birding while black, Washington Post, May 28, 2020
And, last week, the world watched as George Floyd, a handcuffed African American man, was brutally and tragically murdered by a police officer. This followed the murder of Ahmaud Arbery who was killed while jogging as well as several other acts of violence against African Americans in recent weeks.
There are too many headlines about real events and real people, and there are countless other incidents of racism, homophobia, and discrimination that don’t make it into the mainstream media. They reflect the lived experiences of too many who are stopped, questioned and treated differently because of the color of their skin, whom they love, their nationality, the religion they practice or their gender identity or expression.
With this note, we want everyone to know that we stand together as one community and one family at KKR.
KKR does not tolerate or condone racism or discrimination against anyone - inside or outside of the workplace. We are stronger because of our differences. Our firm is better because of our diversity. And our commitment to inclusion and diversity will keep making KKR a better firm.
We also recognize that we can do more than acknowledge these atrocities, and the first step is to listen and learn from each other.
To that end, we are launching KKR Conversations in June, a new effort to get to know our colleagues in a three-dimensional way, understanding their stories, their experiences and their backgrounds. Taking on tough topics like racism and discrimination, these conversations will include internal and external speakers. We hope you will tune in and listen and that you will keep your hearts and minds open.
As a leadership team, we know we don’t have the answers or solutions. What we do know is that these issues are real, that they are plaguing our communities, causing real harm to many of our colleagues, friends, and neighbors--and they are deeply personal.
We will do what we can as leaders of KKR to help combat discrimination.
George Roberts, Henry Kravis, Joe Bae & Scott Nuttall