Just before their Seattle and Los Angeles stores were looted and set ablaze on Saturday, Nordstrom President Peter Nordstrom and CEO Erik Nordstrom announced the company’s solidarity with Black Americans.
In an open letter to employees, the two mentioned that they “have been deeply saddened and angered by recent events” and that the “unnecessary and unjust killing of anyone must not be accepted.”
On Twitter, several people responded to their open letter with the phrase “All lives matter,” which was met with a formal “Yes, but right now it’s time to focus on Black lives.”
Hello, The issue of racism in our country overwhelmingly impacts people of color, including black people. We’re committed to talking about it as a way of driving change.
— Nordstrom (@Nordstrom) May 31, 2020
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Here is the full letter:
This is a painful time for our country and for us. The events going on around all of us are heartbreaking and we want to share a few thoughts with you.
Like so many of you, we have been deeply saddened and angered by recent events in our country. The senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others reflect the deeply ingrained racial prejudice and injustice that still exists in our communities today.
It is stirring many emotions, which it should. The unnecessary and unjust killing of anyone must not be accepted. The issue of race and the experiences of too many people of color cannot be ignored. We owe it to our employees, our customers and our communities to be very clear in condemning these acts of violence. They represent a disregard for basic human rights that has no place in our communities or country, and certainly not at Nordstrom.
We’ve long believed we are all made better by the diversity that exists within our communities. Our values are centered on the notion of creating a place where every customer and employee is welcome, respected, appreciated and able to be themselves.
We need change. As a company, we know we have the opportunity to make things better, which is why over the past several years we’ve amplified our efforts when it comes to diversity, inclusion and belonging at Nordstrom. It begins not only by speaking out, but by listening. Listening to our employees, customers and neighbors as they share what it’s like to be a person of color in our country today. It’s working to ensure our teams and leaders represent the diversity we seek. It’s providing each and every customer who walks in our door the service and experience they expect and deserve to receive at Nordstrom.
Our employees, particularly through our employee resource groups, are critical voices as we continue to have conversations about these important topics. Our “Courageous Conversation” forums set up by our Black Employee Network have made a big impact on both of us. These conversations aren’t easy, but they’ve never been more important. We’re grateful for the courage of our employees as they share their stories. We are proud to stand with them. We welcome your feedback as we work to make meaningful change together.
Pete & Erik