May 31, 2020
This letter was sent from Chairman and CEO DG Macpherson to Grainger team members on Sunday, May 31.
Grainger Team Members,
I am just plain sad at this point. The last week has been hard for me to watch unfold on many levels. The horrific images of George Floyd being kneeled on for almost ten minutes was another reminder of the real inequities that exist. It was sickening to see yet another avoidable tragic death. Knowing that we shouldn’t be surprised anymore that these events occur only makes me sadder. People should be upset by this, and protests are a perfectly acceptable response.
The images of peaceful protests getting turned into violence against local communities and law enforcement are similarly unacceptable. As many who are leading the protests have said, it’s unclear who is starting the violence and what they hope to achieve. These people are trying to take away from the issue at hand and, unfortunately, are having some success. I do want to confirm that all team members in Minneapolis and around the country are safe.
At Grainger, one of our core principles is to do the right thing. The right thing here seems fundamental: respect each other, embrace our differences, and stand up for what is right. Remaining silent about senseless acts of intolerance, racism, and violence is just plain wrong. Collectively, we need to be better. What we need right now is decency and humanity. That doesn’t seem like a high bar, but all of us need to remind ourselves that decency and humanity matter more than ever.
For Grainger, we know that diversity, inclusion and acceptance of our differences makes us stronger. This is central to our principles and vital to our commitment to keeping the world working. Right now, we must stand firm in our principles that make us who we are as a company. We cannot – and will not – tolerate racism, discrimination, prejudice or violence. We will support and include all people. Always.
Friday night, I was watching an interview with a local businessman in Minneapolis. The night before, looters had demolished his small distillery business. His employees had come in the next morning, cleaned everything up and were ready to get to work again. The reporter asked him what he was telling his young children about the events of the last week. The man, who happened to be African American, paused. His answer was something to the effect of ‘I am lying to them. Because once I tell them the truth, their childhood is gone.’ His answer made me quite emotional. We should never have to lie to our children to preserve their childhood.
We need to do better. Common human decency is needed by everyone right now. At Grainger, we need to live up to ‘doing the right thing’ and helping in our own small way. If you need help during this stressful time, please reach out to your leader or the many resources available through the Employee Assistance Program. I urge us all to support one another through this time. Let’s be here for each other and do all that we can to make Grainger and the world a more inclusive place.
Thank you for all you do.