Originally published on LinkedIn by Poul Weihrauch, President Global Petcare at Mars
As difficult it may be to find the right words right now, silence is not an option we can accept. I sent this letter to our leaders at Mars Petcare today and I encourage everyone to begin the important conversations that will lead to meaningful change.
I know that you join me in feeling shocked, outraged, and saddened watching the news in the United States right now. This weekend we’ve had a lot of important conversations at our kitchen table about what’s happening, about injustice and racism, and about the critical importance of human rights. Our hearts are heavy, but my wife and I know that talking to our children about this is incredibly important right now.
Fundamentally, I can’t begin to understand what life is like being the target of systemic injustice. I cannot understand what it must mean as a parent to not be able to have your children walk around freely without feeling fear. The death of George Floyd – and thousands of others – is tragic proof that our society is fraught with deeply-rooted discrimination and injustice.
We’re all seeing a host of reactions on social media and in the news. It’s natural to feel full of emotions – overwhelmed and helpless. But doing nothing isn’t an answer. If the last days and months have shown us anything, it’s that doing nothing means changing nothing.
One of my favourite quotes from Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” underscores why being neutral – and in this case silent – is incredibly dangerous. My ask of you is to have conversations with your teams. Take time to examine what needs to change and how to make it happen.
Conversations lead to actions and are an important first step to driving change.
My commitment as a leader – and as a father – is to listen and seek to understand how I can lead change in small and big ways.
As always, I welcome your perspectives and wish you the best.