George Floyd Murder Forces U.S. Business to Examine its Record on Race

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    Derek Chauvin’s trial ended in a conviction. The business reckoning inspired by George Floyd’s killing is far from over.

    Since Floyd died under the knee of former police officer Chauvin on May 25, more than 80 companies in the S&P 100 have promised to improve hiring for Black and other minority workers. Almost half have goals for improving representation in management, according to data collected by Bloomberg. Twenty two S&P 100 companies have joined the OneTen Coalition, a pledge to add 1 million middle-income jobs for Black workers in a decade.

    That’s the good news. But while corporations such as Microsoft Corp., Target Corp. and Starbucks Corp. have made specific promises for hiring more Black workers, a majority of large companies still haven’t set quantifiable diversity goals. Many companies remain reluctant to even disclose details about the racial composition of their workforce. At the current rate, it will take Black Americans 95 years to reach workforce parity in all levels of U.S. private industry— having 12% representation at every level of a company, according to a February report from McKinsey & Co.

    Activists worry about how they’re going to sustain interest and keep companies committed to change, pointing to the police shooting of Daunte Wright just miles from where Floyd died as a reminder that systemic racism remains ingrained in American society. They’re encouraged by what they’ve seen from the business community, but they’re also seeking to hold companies accountable for the pledges they made in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.

    “It is more than virtue signaling,” said Yusuf George, managing director for corporate engagement at JUST Capital, which advocates for corporate transparency and equity and is tracking the commitments of the 100 biggest U.S. employers. “What’s different in this moment is companies are really thinking more deeply about how these societal issues impact their stakeholders. This moment is one of asking companies are they honoring the commitments they made for creating a more equitable nation for us all.”

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    In This Story: George Floyd

    George Floyd was an African-American man who died on 25th May 2020 in Powderhorn, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, following police arrest. Video recording by a witness, showing Floyd repeating “Please”, “I can’t breathe”, and “Don’t kill me”, was widely circulated on social media platforms and broadcast by media. The incident led to widespread protests across the United States.

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