From the Desk of Vivek Sankaran:
Courtesy, Dignity and Respect - A Foundational Principle
For months, it has felt like nothing could take the country’s collective focus off the COVID-19 crisis. Then, a stream of tragic stories with graphic videos and an all-too-familiar theme emerged again. Over the weekend, we have all witnessed the community outrage provoked by a long history of racism in our country reaching a boiling point due to the recent and senseless killing of George Floyd. The impact of these events has arrived at our doors. We have closed some facilities on the advice of local law enforcement – and have seen a few of our stores damaged by rioters. We will fix these stores and be back in business soon, but we have a more important agenda that demands our collective attention immediately.
Among our hundreds of thousands of associates in the Albertsons Companies family, a family that is not only large, but also wonderfully diverse, I know there are people among us who face prejudice, hatred and intolerance. I know that many of you, like me, are scared, frustrated, angry, and want to see solutions and more progress.
I want to begin by categorically and unambiguously reinforcing to you that we at Albertsons Companies strongly condemn racism of any kind. Our team works hard to ensure that the fairness and equality we want in our communities exists in our stores, offices, and other facilities. Each person who walks through our doors — no matter their race, religion, age, gender identity, or any other type of background — will be treated with Courtesy, Dignity, and Respect. Our associates learn this when they are hired, and we have all received training that this is our expectation, with no exceptions. Beyond that, we continuously review our practices and training when it comes to diversity and inclusivity – with a focus on doing more and better.
However, workplace policies and procedures are a small part of the solution. Listening with compassion and taking action when it is needed are critical to ensuring that racism and hatred have no place at our company.
The events of recent days are a harsh reminder that we as a country and as a company have to do more. Let us begin today by stepping up to support our colleagues who feel the pain of this crisis, especially our African American colleagues.
I am asking our leaders at every level of the company to check in with their teams as soon as they can, to listen to each other with compassion and work to address concerns that our associates raise. And if anyone at the company wants to speak directly with me, please reach out. I am fortunate that I have spent my career at companies where the voices of employees are heard, and as always, we are committed to ensuring that is the case at Albertsons Companies.
We are hosting a town hall this afternoon with representatives of our Division Diversity Councils and some of our ERG leaders and associates to discuss this issue personally with them, and we will provide our store directors with talking points to share with their teams. We will do all we can to show our African American colleagues and other people of color that we stand with them.
We cannot put an end to racism by ourselves, but I know that when we stand united in combating it, we can make a difference in our communities and hopefully beyond them.