Published on June 1, 2020
I want to dedicate my weekly update to the tragic and unsettling events of recent months, which have come into even closer focus over the past few days. I am deeply saddened by the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery – and all those who have come before them – that have shaken the United States. I am also troubled by everything we are seeing about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color around the world. I know my feelings cannot compare to those of our Black colleagues, some of whom have shared their pain and fear with me personally in recent days, but I feel it is my responsibility to address this injustice head on.
While racism, bigotry and violence have been societal challenges well before these events, today I feel a greater need to get Hilton back on the playing field to help address them. Our founding purpose is to make the world a better place through our hospitality, and together we have stayed true to that principle, no matter what the world has thrown our way. For more than a century, we have welcomed people of all colors, nationalities and religions with dignity, respect and kindness. Diversity and inclusivity are part of our DNA, and our hotels are an integral part of every community. Our ability to foster human connections across these communities is needed now more than ever.
Many of us are still in an unsettled state caused by COVID-19, but that should not stop us from doing our part. While there are countless ways you may choose to personally honor George Floyd and the millions of other people of color who are discriminated against around the world, together we can honor these individuals by continuing to live by our Hilton Values. At Hilton, we have Integrity: We strive to do the right thing all the time. And the right thing to do is to stand up to racism, bigotry and violence. Please listen to and learn from your colleagues who may be experiencing life in a very different way because they are different from you. Engage others with compassion and respect, even if their views vary from yours, in an effort to foster greater understanding. And reflect on how Hilton – a company that has been globally recognized for our commitment to diversity – can continue to play a positive role in our communities.
To our Team Members of color, please know that Hilton stands in support of you. These are horrifically difficult times, and I am deeply inspired by your resolve to overcome this adversity and continue to lead with hospitality. You are so incredibly strong, and together, we can be the beacon of hope our world needs right now.
I know you are all going through a lot, and that everyone is bearing the burden of our current environment on a very personal level. Please reach out through our Employee Assistance Program if you need any help, including access to free mental health resources – and know that I am thinking about all of you every day. I will be back in touch again next week, and until then – please be well.
President and CEO at Hilton