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Companies in Georgia say they work against injustice



Metro Atlanta’s companies, along with others from across the country, denounced racial injustices when demonstrations against police brutality and other racial confrontations continued in the United States on Tuesday.

Some of these companies are committing to action as the nation collapses underground from protests caused by the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick. All three were African American. Floyd and Taylor were killed by the police. Arbery was shot by a white resident.

Home Depot announced that it would donate $ 1 million to the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to support efforts to end racism and injustice. The Coca-Cola Company said that senior executives will hold a “stand as one”

; dialogue about racism and the company’s actions to create change. Executives at Southern Company, Georgia Power’s parent company, said they would “double our ongoing efforts to improve relationships between all members of the communities in which we live and work.”

Company statements focused primarily on the underlying issues that sparked the protests, not on the violence in the turmoil and property damage that have become a priority for the White House.

Many major brands are expected to support issues and share values ​​that are important to their employees, customers, and shareholders, said Rob Baskin, former director of public relations at Coke and now vice president of public affairs for the Atlanta Police Foundation.

“The interests of society and the interests of companies are served through unity and a sense of cooperation in solving problems and problems,” said Baskin.

Bob Hope, co-founder of Atlanta-based PR company Hope-Beckham, said companies are navigating an increasingly sensitive market. They tend to take positions that many of their stakeholders can agree on.

Many of the recent statements from companies at the national level sound very similar, said Naveen Donthu, professor and marketing chair at Georgia State University. It makes them look less authentic, he said. But he praised a Nike campaign. The company released a video saying “Don’t do it”.

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“Don’t pretend there is no problem in America. Don’t turn away from racism,” it says.

Craig Menear, chief executive officer of Home Depot, made a statement denouncing “the senseless murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and other unarmed black men and women in our country”.

“We cannot ignore that their deaths are part of a racism pattern and reflect the harsh reality that we as a nation are far too far from fulfilling the promise of equal justice for all,” he said.

James Quincey, chairman of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, wrote in a message sent to employees and published online: “We are one with our employees, business partners and communities when it comes to rejecting racism and discrimination. We share their anger, fear, sadness, and disappointment at the lack of progress in protecting black Americans and black people from racist and unjust acts.

Quincey also said the company is partnering with “Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta, and community leaders across North America to deliberately call for peaceful protests. We reject all forms of violence and destruction.

On Monday, the Atlanta Committee for Progress issued a statement saying, “The senseless and terrible events of the past few weeks have left people in our community with fear, anxiety, frustration, and justified anger.” The group’s 42 members include business and education leaders, including Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, and Alex Taylor, CEO of Cox Enterprises, which owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Delta Air Lines posted on its Facebook page: “Words alone cannot help solve the crimes of racism. We recognize that we still have a lot of work to do, but we know that we will listen and not remain silent. “

Carol Tome, the new CEO of UPS, said in an open letter to UPS employees that “the recent incidents in Brunswick, Georgia, Minneapolis, Louisville and New York City and the resulting social unrest across America have changed us Confront reality. A reality that reveals the worst in humanity. A reality where hate is just below the surface and discrimination, fear and violence can occur anywhere. “

She wrote: “I am angry and ashamed to see people treat others with contempt and hatred.”

The authors Michael E. Kanell, Kelly Yamanouchi, Christopher Quinn and Andy Peters contributed to this story.