In response to the death of George Floyd, Pete and Erik Nordstrom wrote an open letter to employees condemning racial injustice and expressing their anger and frustration.
“Like so many of you, we have been deeply saddened and angered by recent events in our country,” they wrote. “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.”
Writing that “we are all made better by the diversity that exists within our communities,” Pete and Erik noted the steps Nordstrom has taken in recent years to improve diversity and inclusion, including working to ensure teams and leaders “represent the diversity we seek” as well as listening to the experiences of employees and customers “as they share what it’s like to be a person of color in our country today.” Further, Pete and Erik said their “Courageous Conversation” forums set up by their Black Employee Network “have made an 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,” the Nordstroms wrote.
Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, was killed on Monday in Minneapolis by police officer Devin Chauvin after Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck during an arrest. Chauvin has since been taken into police custody and charged with third-degree murder.
Floyd’s death has incited outrage among many, with protests occurring across the United States. Nordstrom is among a slew of companies in the footwear space — such as Nike, Reebok and Under Armour — that have taken a stance against racial inequality as national unrest grows. As protests continued yesterday for the fifth consecutive day, two Nordstrom outposts saw damage, in the retailer’s hometown of Seattle and at The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles.