We Stand in Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement

black lives matter

Over the past two weeks, IRI has stood in solidarity and remained absent from social media as a sign of respect. We can no longer remain silent. We are outraged by the murder of George Floyd and countless other Black Americans. The violent reaction by police and the use of military forces and chemical weapons against Americans protesting peacefully is appalling.

We know that systems achieve the results for which they are designed. No person of empathy should tolerate the outcomes of racism and brutality we now witness. But in order to change these outcomes, we must all strive to listen, read, educate ourselves, and be open to new ways of thinking – we must approach this as the innovators we are.

We believe that calling out injustice is a requisite of good citizenship. We also believe that diversity of thought is a determinate of successful innovative systems. Research has shown time and again that inclusive workplaces are more successful and diverse systems more robust.  But in order to have workforces that meet those needs, workers must be raised, educated and supported in a country that shares those values. It is imperative that IRI support anti-racist efforts. We must stand with IRI employees, members, and communities who are voicing their grief and fury with systems that oppress and devalue Black lives.

For America to thrive, all Americans must thrive. The fight for humanity and dignity for all is the struggle of all Americans. IRI will continue to support efforts toward finding innovative solutions that eliminate the racial inequities in health care, education, and justice. Going forward, IRI will host roundtable discussions, create and deliver content about inclusivity and innovation, compile resources on our website, and seek out more BIPOC speakers. We all want to live in a nation where all lives matter – but we can never get there unless black lives matter.

Martha M. Garder, Ph.D
IRI Chair

Ed Bernstein
IRI President

Statements from IRI Member Companies

The Spring of 2020 has tested us as individuals, communities and nations in many indelible and troubling ways. But I am optimistic that the recent pain and suffering will not be in vain and that science, knowledge and inclusion will ultimately defeat diseases, ignorance and hatred. 

As technology companies, we have a major role to play not only to shape the new digital era or invent novel therapies but as importantly to redefine and strengthen the social fabric within our local and global communities.

But to fully deliver on this promise, we cannot limit our focus to developing new technologies. We need to fully embrace our responsibilities to provide equal opportunities, ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace and to engage with and support in meaningful ways the people and communities where we operate.

Bertrand Loy, CEO, Entegris

Since my initial note to you last month following the murder of George Floyd, the topic of GE’s own practices and actions on inclusion and diversity has been on my mind constantly. I’ve spoken to many Black leaders inside and outside of GE during this time. A week ago, I joined our African American Forum (AAF) town hall with nearly 1,800 GE employees for a spirited hour of conversation. The questions raised by our colleagues were tough and fair, and the personal stories were deeply impactful. I am listening and continue to develop insight into how we as GE can rise to the challenge to build a world that works…for everyone. That job begins with me and my leadership team. But, ultimately, we all have a role.  [Read more about GE’s commitment]

-Larry Culp, Chairman & CEO, General Electric (GE)

We have been listening, and we will continue to listen.

In less than two weeks, thousands of us have listened to our friends and coworkers share their personal stories on the grievous subject of racism. We have been shocked into awareness that people among us every day could worry about driving at night, or fear for their children to go for a jog, or fear that they would be eyed as trespassers in their own places of worship or their own neighborhoods.

For some of us, stepping into the light of understanding these recent days has been jarring. Meanwhile, others are wondering: What took so long?

[Read Michelin’s statement]

As a company, we will continue to look for ways to ensure we remain a place where all employees and customers feel they belong. We are committed to diversity and inclusion. Our strength is built upon our different backgrounds, geographies, and experiences that help shape our perspectives and inform all aspects of how we can best serve our customers. In this moment, we are reminded of our different perspectives and the need to listen and learn from one another.

– Srinivas Veeramasuneni , Chief Technology Officer , USG Corporation