Letter From the CEO: A Message of Unity and Reflection
Please see the letter Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith sent to employees on Monday, June 1:
The events of the last few weeks and last few days have layered more tragedy on top of the pandemic we are experiencing. The institutional and individual racism that has long plagued our country was pulled into plain view by Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting death in Georgia, through the lies of Amy Cooper in Central Park, in Breonna Taylor’s killing inside her Louisville home, and, most recently, the Minneapolis killing of George Floyd.
These were only the most recent events. Yet, they are the ones that have driven many people to the streets to call for changes in our criminal justice system, to lessen the economic disparities between races that continue to be pronounced, and to ensure that the health care, education, and security of our neighbors also live up to the American promise of impartial justice, equal opportunity, and shared prosperity.
Over the weekend, I listened to a mother who goes to my church talk about the difficulty she’ll have, some day, in talking to her 5-year-old African American son about growing up in this unjust and racist environment. She spoke of how she would have to educate him on how to behave in a store, how to dress, what times are appropriate times to go for a run and, particularly, how to slowly move his hands when interacting with the police. She choked up as she predicted what his response would be. She said that a little bit of light would go out from his eyes and that he’d struggle with why it has to be that way when he’s been taught by his faith about everyone’s equality.
Our founder also shared a poignant essay over the weekend, and I’d like to encourage you to read it as well: Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot.
I hope that you will be thoughtful and compassionate with your colleagues who are, today, personally struggling once again with long-standing racism and are demanding solutions today - not in some vague time in the future. I want to acknowledge that with the spectrum of events occurring in such a short period of time, it can impact people in lots of different ways. I’d encourage you all as a team to continue to extend grace, patience, and kindness to each other. That’s what embracing Team Blue is about – in good times and in bad.
When we peacefully stand up and do what we can to serve our colleagues on Team Blue, in our communities, and around our country, we will enrich both our own lives and the lives of others.
It is my hope that each of you will allow these events to move you to reflect on what can be done and redouble your efforts to build a more just and inclusive world.