By now you are likely aware of the troubling violence that occurred this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Like many of you, I watched in shock as the events unfolded on TV and over social media. Throughout the weekend, I kept thinking that while free speech and free assembly are essential American rights, hatred, bigotry and violence are not.
I want to take this moment to address these events and how we move forward as a firm. It’s not lost on me that today I find myself sending all of you a note similar to the one I sent just over a year ago addressing racially charged events in Dallas and Minnesota.
In July 2016, we came together as a firm to discuss the disturbing events of last summer, and after our firm-wide dialogue, I offered you my takeaways from that day. Those discussions inspired the actions we’ve taken over the past year. Here, I offer you my views on where I see progress and where I see more for us to do:
1. We still have a lot of work to do to advance respectful, open dialogue and show empathy.
One of the first and most important steps on this journey is encouraging honest, respectful and often uncomfortable dialogue about the experiences, fears and obstacles of our neighbors, coworkers and friends. I’ve discussed this at length with the recent launch of the CEO Action for Diversity & InclusionTM. The initiative commits many of this country’s biggest employers to putting diversity and inclusion at the core of their respective cultures, with the aim of creating meaningful change both in and out of the workplace.
I think we all share the hope that our country can make progress on these issues without people getting hurt. The commitment from the many organizations we’ve signed on to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion sends the clear statement that others feel the same. I’m not suggesting we’ve got this figured out. But it gives me hope to know there are many, many of us who want to be part of the solution -- and that we've created a platform to start to work together.
2. We have opportunities to mold the hearts and minds of our youth to create a better future.
The world is changing quickly and some feel they are being left behind -- including many young people. Like all of the big issues facing our nation, this can’t be solved by a single individual or organization. But we know that we can work with others to be part of the solution.
Through Access Your Potential®, we’re taking action to help young people develop the leadership and technology skills they need to be successful -- working with schools, community organizations and many of our clients. We have much more to do here, and there are opportunities for all of us at PwC to teach, coach and inspire young people to see a brighter future for themselves. Please get involved and use your community service hours to work with the future leaders of this country.
3. We have entered a period of turmoil that likely isn’t going away anytime soon.
Team, the hatred and bigotry we have just witnessed is not acceptable. Sadly, we can't control what happens outside the walls of PwC, and we know that this won't be the last violent event in our country. What we can control is doing our best to be a place that stands for inclusion and that supports people of all backgrounds and points of view in reaching for their potential. Just like every day at PwC, our values should guide us and we should treat each other with care and compassion.