Toby Bozzuto Speaks Out About The Complicity of Silence

Statement

May 31, 2020

In a letter to Bozzuto employees, President and CEO Toby Bozzuto stated:

The world is slowly beginning to emerge from our cocoons of quarantine solitude. As the poet Anais Nin describes, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” So here we are, and it is time to bloom.

Presumably, this global pause has given us the opportunity to become better versions of ourselves. Perhaps we have learned how to give an appropriate response of compassion to human suffering. Perhaps we have shaken off those things that are repugnant and useless (racism, sexism, materialism, egotism), and instead begun to walk the arduous path from selfishness to selflessness towards others. And hopefully, we have awakened to the fact that we are all connected through a beautiful, yet perilously delicate spider web of humanity.

But for many, nothing has changed.

As former President Obama said, “But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly “normal” – whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.”

His name was George Floyd. His dignity was ruthlessly crushed under the weight of a knee, and the heaviness of hundreds of years of structural and systemic oppression. “I can’t breathe!” His body a child’s pose of fear. “Mama, I can’t breathe!”

We are better than this!

So many of us are unwilling to accept this version of normal, and we won’t stand by and watch. We know and understand that there is profound complicity in silence. Martin Luther King, Jr. tells us, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.”

So we will not be silent. We will do our part. The Bozzuto Group will strive to be a paradigm of what is right, and what is good. We will seek to understand inequality and injustice. We will respond with “Concern” for others, which my father Tom has always called “the greatest virtue.” We will create opportunities for the historically oppressed. We will make the world a better place by creating sanctuary for those we serve. We will be a better company (and better people) because of this.

As you know, our company has been a member of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion since its founding. Today, I personally reached out to Tim Ryan, the US Chairman of PWC, and asked to be included in a newly-formed CEO Task Force. I am hopeful that I can learn best practices for our company to embrace a culture of diversity and inclusion, while concurrently denouncing racism and inequality in any form.

We must always set the bar higher for ourselves, and learn what we could be doing better. This is a top priority for me and for Bozzuto.

As a family taking care of families, it is our to time to stand up for those who can’t.

Toby Bozzuto
President & Chief Executive Officer
The Bozzuto Group

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