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Johnson & Johnson CEO Addresses The ‘Deep’ Racism ‘Fractures In Society’


Johnson & Johnson promotes dialogue for creating action plan to address racism, while pledging “$10 million to fighting racism and injustice in America”.

Dailycsr.com – 13 June 2020 – The Chairman as well as the Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson, Alex Gorsky commented on the escalated spurring protests over “violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery”, whereby sending out a communication to the employees in the U.S.
The message came from the Executive Committee which affirmed Johnson & Johnson’s commitments towards “justice and equality”. However, the turmoil on the streets remained unaffected, therefore given the scenario, Gorsky says:
“I think it’s important to address this issue again with all members of the Johnson & Johnson family worldwide”.
The chief executive officer of the largest global healthcare company stated “unequivocally” that racism cannot be accepted irrespective of its forms and intensity and the lives of black are equally important. Gorsky adds:
“And as a white man, I also need to acknowledge the limits of my own life experience and listen to those who have faced systemic injustice since the day they were born”.
Gorsky reached out to black friends and colleagues to gather their stories and amongst many he found that a father would go behind his daughter when she went out jogging in the fear of her safety. These stories as he describes “landed like a punch to the gut” for him. Even though it is natural for the parents to worry for their children about numerous things, “racist violence” cannot be “one of them”, reiterates Gorsky.
Even though the company of Johnson & Johnson takes pride in its “diverse and inclusive workplace”, the C.E.O feels yet more remains to be done. He adds:
“And we must do it now. Our company is committing $10 million to fighting racism and injustice in America—a pledge that will span the next three years. We will kick it off by extending our support of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and its initiatives, such as the "Talking About Race” program. This new online offering is a valuable resource that reflects our belief in the transformative power of dialogue and education when it comes to unearthing and confronting the root causes of racism”.
Gorsky also revealed that Johnson & Johnson will make announcements about partnerships in the coming months addressing the efforts towards reducing “difference in advancing social justice”. The Chief Executive further added:
“One important area of focus: the urgent need to address the inequities in medical care that have long plagued minority communities—gaps that have recently been both highlighted and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been working through a major initiative that will help address issues including underrepresentation in clinical trials, equipping community health workers, and strengthening existing community medical systems. I look forward to sharing more details with you about this soon”.
Beginning the initiative towards change at home, Johnson & Johnson will be holding “series of listening tours and events” to promote dialogues between “leaders and fellow employees” which “may not be easy” yet seem to be “more important now than ever before”. These conversations will become the foundation for action plan of Johnson & Johnson to deliver on its “commitment to equality”.
Moreover, the action plan will also be passed on to the company’s “suppliers and other business partners” in order to have as far-reaching effects as possible. To the black colleagues, Gorsky’s message is:
“Please know we see the extra burden that is weighing on you during this already difficult time. Please take the time you need to process, stand up for your beliefs, and do whatever you need to do to take care of your families, communities and yourselves”.
While addressing the entire family of Johnson & Johnson, Gorsky said:
“Please be mindful of what your fellow employees may be going through in these turbulent times, even if they seem ‘fine.’ Take a moment to reach out to coworkers and let them know you care about what is happening to people of color in America. If recent events have been a revelation to you, let that serve as a challenge to step up and do more as peaceful and determined agents of change—a challenge I myself am determined to embrace”.