By Bill Newlands, President & CEO
It’s difficult to find the words to describe how I’ve felt in watching the tragic events of the past week unfold, brought on by the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. Appalled, saddened, angered – all of them, all at once. But even then, these words seem to fall well short.
This injustice – this discrimination – simply has no place in our society, and our thoughts and prayers go out to those directly impacted by these recent acts of violence.
Earlier today, I shared a message with our employees at Constellation. But in order to enact the change we clearly and desperately need, this conversation must move beyond the walls of our offices. I feel it is important to reach all of our partners, friends, consumers and communities – because it is together, and only together, that we can make a meaningful difference.
Sadly, this is hardly our country’s first encounter with such behavior. The United States has a long and disturbing history of systemic bigotry, racism and injustice impacting a number of underrepresented demographics in our society. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed and highlighted these injustices, as we’ve seen how black and brown communities have been disproportionately impacted and how Asian Americans have been unfairly attacked and scapegoated as the cause of the virus.
Simply put, we must do better. This has to change. And all of us – from companies to individuals – have a responsibility in creating that change.
Let me be clear about our company’s stance on this matter; We categorically denounce bigotry, racism, social injustice and acts of senseless violence in all forms. They are clearly inconsistent with our company’s values and our commitment to embracing diversity and creating an inclusive environment where all employees feel safe, respected and valued.
While neither I nor many of us will ever fully understand the fear and anxiety that is part of everyday life for many people of color, we all can seek to understand and gain perspective to help create a more empathetic and inclusive environment within our workplaces and communities. It’s why I’m a participant in the CEO Action For Diversity & Inclusion – the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, to continue to broaden my own understanding and help our organization continue to improve. It is only through understanding and empathy that we can work together to make meaningful and positive change.
But words only go so far.
The circumstances leading up to this most recent set of events have existed far too long. Over the years, various transgressions have prompted rhetoric, but without sincere and sustained action, truly meaningful change can’t be achieved. It’s a challenge and responsibility I know our entire Constellation Brands family embraces. And it’s that commitment that gives me hope in these trying times.
In the coming days, we’ll be working with leaders of our respective Business Resource Groups to hold open conversations and gather diverse perspectives to determine the most impactful actions we can take to make a positive difference in our workplace and communities. You will hear more from us soon, and I look forward to providing an update as plans are developed.
Constellation is committed to doing its part. Together, we can help drive change.