Co-op boss Steve Murrells has published an emotional response to the death of George Floyd, which has sparked protests across the US and around the world.
Murrells told his Twitter followers he wanted to share his personal reflection on “the horrific killing” in Minneapolis.
With disturbances continuing to rage in cities throughout the US – and protests springing up in London, Germany, France and New Zealand – Murrells said he felt “compelled” to let all the Co-op colleagues know “I care deeply about you”.
“I value your talent, time, creativity, energy, hard work, passion, compassion, care and commitment,” the Co-op CEO wrote on a Twitter thread.
“I value all these things regardless of your upbringing, skin colour, sexuality or religion.
“We know we can’t go on like this. A world where people are judged, discriminated against and die due to the colour of their skin is not the world I want, that any of us want. Even though we are not in the USA we all have a part to play. Some of you experience judgement and discrimination every single day. Both in work and outside of work.”
We know we can’t go on like this. A world where people are judged, discriminated against and die due to the colour of their skin is not the world I want, that any of us want. Even though we are not in the USA we all have a part to play.— Steve Murrells (@Steve_Murrells) June 1, 2020
Murrells added he couldn’t know what discrimination felt like, but he told staff “my ears are pinned back, my eyes are open and, as uncomfortable as it may be, I won’t look away”.
“I know this is happening and it’s unacceptable and intolerable. It must change. We can change it.
“The inclusive culture that we, together, are trying to build at the Co-op will only live through actions. Not words alone. There is no doubt we’ve got more to do. We’re well underway but I’m not naive enough to think that we’re even nearly done. We need to go further and faster.
“That will require some big actions from me, management and also thousands of daily actions from all of you – please, don’t underestimate your own power.”
He quoted the Archbishop Desmond Tutu as he brought the Twitter thread to a close: “‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’”
Murrells wrote: “I don’t have all the answers yet and I don’t underestimate how difficult this will be for all of us. But I wanted to make it unmistakably clear today that we stand together, as One Co-op family.”
Co-op colleagues responded to the post by thanking their boss.
One said: “Honestly, am so damn glad you’re our chief, and I work for a company with ethics at its core.”
Another added: “Thank you, Steve. This is why I love being part of the Co-op family.”