As we enter our fourth month of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ninth day of national protests in the US over systemic racism and the tragic death of George Floyd, I know many are struggling with so much tragedy and chaos in the world right now. Our families, friends, fellow employees, customers, and partners:
I’ve received many questions about the events unfolding in the US over the last week and I’d like to comment and share some of my personal views without stepping into politics.
As a member of my community, a father, a husband, a son, a brother, an uncle, and godfather to my 12- year old Ethiopian-born nephew, and a leader at Extreme, I do not condone racism, sexism, or inequality by anyone, on any level.
I understand that as a white man, I don’t understand what it feels like to be subject to the systemic racism that exists in our country, especially with local law enforcement officials. What I do know and I’m fully aware of is the power of the diverse and inclusive team that spans our Extreme community.
At Extreme, we stand by five core values – candor, transparency, teamwork, ownership, and curiosity. These values define our employees and drive our culture forward. I always tell my employees that candor is the hardest thing to do in business, but really, that extends to life as well. As human beings, we’re not trained to speak the truth in times that are uncomfortable, but we have to be real – now more than ever. We have to be real about where we are, what the issues are, and how we can fix what’s broken. These real conversations will enable us to grow stronger, together. We must all lead by example and take action to drive a better, more inclusive world.
I don’t have all the answers on how to make things better, but to start, I encourage everyone to get involved with local organizations striving for racial equality and justice. Our family has made donations to the Equal Justice Initiative, Black Visions Collective, Reclaim the Block, and WeTheProtesters. Speak with your kids about racism and injustice and let them share how they see the world with you. My daughter and I just agreed to read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander which has been highly recommended. Don’t shy away from tough conversations with friends and family; always seek understanding and deliver kindness. Together we can address the issues, take ownership of the solution, and deliver progress.
I value nothing more than the culture we’ve built across the globe and no matter the circumstance, there is no place for racism, sexism or social injustice at Extreme. Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common and together we will do more than we could ever do apart. As part of our commitment to racial and gender equality, I challenge all of you to consider where disparity exists, don’t accept shortcomings, and take ownership to address it.
Be strong and be safe!
President & CEO