Jun 06 H. J. Russell & Company CEO Michael B. Russell, Sr.’s Statement on the Need for Racial Equality in America
As I reflect on the atrocities that have plagued the Black community for decades, including the multiple incidences that have occurred just this year alone, it is abundantly clear that we, as a nation, must ask the very difficult question of why, in 2020, this is still America’s narrative. As a Black man and the second-generation leader of a venerable black-owned enterprise, H. J. Russell & Company, I have done much introspection and fully understand and embrace the fact, much like my father before me, Herman J. Russell, Sr., that I need to play my part in ensuring that racial equality is not just a buzz word or trendy phrase. Therefore, I commit to make a concerted effort to ensure that I take definitive steps personally and as the leader of H. J. Russell & Company to help our nation move beyond this cycle of oppression. Indeed, I am committed now more than ever to uphold the tenets that my father founded this great company upon back in 1952:
- Diversity is a strength in organizations and will continue to be a positive differentiator.
- We will amplify our commitment to make sure diverse vendors have a seat at our table and opportunities to grow their businesses.
- None of our workforce will be minimized because of their race, ethnicity, culture, gender, religion, or sexual preference. Everyone will have an opportunity to grow and be the best they can be.
- We will continue to uphold our role as a beacon of Black entrepreneurship and a leader in the Atlanta community and beyond.
My father, an unrelenting force when it came to the advancement of minorities, often stated that:
“Our leadership’s measured approach to social change left room for dialogue and, I like to think, gained the respect of some members of the white power structure. Not respect for respect’s sake, but respect led to dialogue. And dialogue opened the door to change.”
I could not agree more. The Russell family and our various businesses will do all we can to facilitate and advance honest, transparent, and effective dialogue that we hope will help bring about continuing solutions and ultimately, lasting change. One of the immediate actions the Russell family will take is to facilitate this sort of dialogue at the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a non-profit created to empower and grow Black businesses.
My commitment to being a central part of the solution is unwavering. I pray that we all stay focused, and each day we look in the mirror, we renew our commitment to contributing to true change.