The following message by Denise Merle, Weyerhaeuser's Chief Administration Officer and Chair of our Inclusion Council, was shared with Weyerhaeuser employees on June 1, 2020, after the death of George Floyd:
I had written a different blog for this week, but the events in Minneapolis — and in communities across the country — have been too upsetting and profound to think of much else. What’s happening is utterly heartbreaking, and it isn’t new. This tragedy has been repeated again and again, and we want to express our deepest condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others for their senseless deaths and for being denied their dignity, their dreams and their futures.
I write this with a keen awareness of my own privilege, and a painful recognition that people of color have not been afforded the same level of rights and protections. I write this knowing I can never fully understand how it feels to be targeted and judged by the color of your skin, whether you’re out for a run or birdwatching in a public park. I also write this knowing we’ll all experience this national trauma differently, and that some of us might feel helpless against such a tide of unrest and injustice. But no one should feel sidelined or powerless in this moment, and we can start by channeling our indignation to make a positive impact here at Weyerhaeuser, at home with our loved ones, and within our communities.
The Weyerhaeuser family is big, diverse and immensely caring, and we have a powerful responsibility as a company to create a safe, supportive and truly inclusive culture throughout our operations — one that embraces and celebrates our differences as an essential strength of our workforce and character. With so much unrest in our country and around the world, we must insist on our shared humanity every day, in every encounter, and never waver in our empathy and respect for each other. The urgency of our commitment to equity and inclusion has never felt greater than it does today, and it starts with us — all of us — living those values every day.
It’s important to acknowledge, as well, that we’re processing these tragedies on top of all the stress, anxiety and grief we’re already dealing with from COVID-19. That’s a tremendous emotional burden to bear, and I encourage you to reach out if you need extra support. Our Employee Assistance Program offers a number of resources, including free confidential counseling over the phone, and let’s all look out for each other and make sure we stay connected and cared for during this difficult time.
Chief Administration Officer