Statement of WinnCompanies CEO Gilbert Winn on the Murder of George Floyd and Racial Injustice
BOSTON (June 3, 2020) – On May 25th, the world witnessed a tragedy: The death – really, the murder – of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It is a horrible fact that this kind of injustice can continue to occur in our country, after so many other outrageous killings throughout our history.
We appreciate the effect this kind of incident can have on our team members, particularly on our minority team members who make up the majority of our workforce nationwide.
The brutal death of George Floyd is deeply troubling and is representative of a huge issue that we must face as individuals, as a society and as a nation. It is clear we need change – structural, societal, lasting change on how we deal with racial injustice in America.
In the communities where we live and work, we are seeing peaceful protests and, in a few unfortunate cases, disruptive riots and looting. It is important to point out that these two things should not be conflated. The killing of George Floyd and the resulting protests require national reflection and attention. This movement should not be tarnished or diminished by the riotous actions of the few. We must remember to make that distinction.
Nevertheless, the riots and looting also have an impact at our community sites, on our team members and our residents. In some cases, apartment buildings we manage have suffered significant vandalism and team members have been caught in the middle. You have responded bravely and with care. We stand with you and understand your fears and concerns. And, we thank you for your perseverance.
This moment in history is not about property damage or violent disruption. It is about damage to our spirit, individually and collectively.
I want you to know that the company is here to support you. I am so proud that, as a company of more than 3,700 team members, more than half are minorities. This diversity makes us a better company. It also means that many of your fellow co-workers are experiencing very personal pain, fear, anger and sadness. This pain may not be visible on the surface, though these team members are still showing up to work and putting on a brave face. Please understand this and continue to reach out, acknowledge this, and lend a hand. We see you.
Action is needed to address racial injustice in our communities. Toward this end, I wanted to encourage you to use your paid community service hours to demonstrate, protest, or engage in community events that occur in the coming days and weeks on this important social justice issue. Such peaceful activism is a fitting way to use community service hours.
Please reach out to us, your leaders. If you see issues at your properties or at work, we want to know about it so we can address it.
WinnCompanies is proud to build, promote and operate diverse fair housing in more than 200 cities and towns in 23 states across the country. Our mission is to provide high quality homes that are critical to a stable society and that help families of all colors connect to community services and to each other. We will continue to do our part to advance that mission, individually and collectively.
We stand with our fellow citizens. WinnCompanies does not and will not tolerate racial injustice.