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How America’s CEOs reacted to the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

Business leaders joined a chorus of Americans in applauding the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, while at the same time recognizing there’s more work to be done to combat institutional racism.

“Today’s verdict was just,” Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted. “But as Dr. King wrote: ‘Justice for Black people will not flow into society merely from court decisions nor from fountains of political oratory … Justice for Black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society.'”

Apple and many others in Corporate America responded to George Floyd’s death at the hands of police nearly a year ago with calls for action to fight racism at every level, including in their own offices. While some have made progress, most acknowledged this week that their work is far from complete.

Starbucks: “George Floyd should still be alive today”

“While today’s verdict is a step forward in accountability, until we confront the ugly realities and root causes that led us to this day, our people, our nation, will always fall short of their full potential,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson tweeted.

Starbucks echoed Johnson’s sentiment in tweet saying: “George Floyd should still be alive today.”

“Black lives matter, and we stand with our Black customers and partners,” the company tweeted.

Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on three charges, including second-degree unintentional murder. Nearly a year ago, footage of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes sparked massive protests across America and around the world, reigniting conversations about systemic racism.

Facebook: “We stand in solidarity…”

After Tuesday’s guilty verdict, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he hopes the jury’s decision brought some measure of comfort to Floyd’s family, others who knew him and “everyone who can’t help but see themselves in his story.”

“We stand in solidarity with you, knowing that this is part of a bigger struggle against racism and injustice,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

Amazon: “A small, yet important victory in the larger fight against racism and social injustice”

Amazon issued a statement calling the verdict “a small, yet important victory in the larger fight against racism and social injustice.” Amazon has been criticized recently for discouraging its employees in Bessemer, Alabama, who are disproportionately Black, from unionizing.

Ben & Jerry’s: “Let this be a turning point”

Ben & Jerry’s, a company that’s been outspoken in its support for social justice and anti-racist movements, posted a series of tweets calling for greater accountability in policing.

“Finding one officer guilty does not exonerate a legal system that has perpetually brutalized Black and Brown communities,” the ice cream maker tweeted. “Let this be a turning point for us to stop addressing our society’s challenges with over-policing and begin to build a new system of public safety that creates healthier and safer communities for all.”

Citi: “We all need to put in the hard work”

Citi Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason, one of the few Black executive leaders at a major commercial bank, expressed gratitude that “justice has been served” in the Chauvin case, while acknowledging the verdict won’t bring back Floyd or any people of color who have been killed by police over the years.

“This verdict in no way provides closure,” Mason wrote in a Wednesday blog post. “We all need to put in the hard work, have the tough conversations and open our minds to the perspectives and experiences of others who don’t look like us, talk like us or come from the same neighborhood.”

The NBA: “We are pleased that justice appears to have been served”

The NBA and the Minnesota Timberwolves also chimed in on Twitter. “George Floyd’s murder was a flash point for how we look at race and justice in our country,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Michele Roberts, executive director of the league’s Player’s Association, said in a joint statement. “We are pleased that justice appears to have been served.”

The Timberwolves, who are based in Minneapolis where Floyd was murdered, tweeted a statement saying the team’s “deepest thoughts have been with the Floyd family since this unjust tragedy.”

“Throughout our history, racial and social inequalities have been ingrained in our society,” the team tweeted. “We are hopeful today’s decision will serve as a step forward, but it does not ease the physical and emotional pain that continues in an environment where systemic racism still exists.”

Wells Fargo, Adidas, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Lyft co-founder John Zimmer also issued statements voicing support for Black Americans or the Black Lives Matter movement after the verdict.

Article Topic Follows: Biz/Tech

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