“This is not who we are.”
That was how Micron’s Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs Joel Poppen opened his comments during a public meeting with the mayor on Thursday, Dec. 10, which was held in response to hateful acts committed in Boise this week.
More than 6,000 of Micron’s 40,000 global team members live in Boise, where the company was founded and is headquartered.
“Boise has always been a welcoming place for our team members who move here or visit from around the world,” Poppen said. “It’s safe, has an excellent quality of living, is beautiful and vibrant — with people who are kind and empathetic and who care about others. The kinds of things currently happening in our community, like anti-Semitic and racist acts of vandalism, harassment and violence against public officials, are wrong and don’t represent the Boise we know.”
Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra announced that Micron would be joining the outpouring of support for Boise’s Wassmuth Center for Human Rights (home of the Anne Frank Memorial) with a $20,000 donation from the Micron Foundation. The foundation is also donating $20,000 to the Jewish Assistance Fund of Idaho.
Boise Mayor Lauren McLean invited Poppen to join the Zoom conference, along with two other local leaders — Dan Prinzing, executive director of the Wassmuth Center, and Rabbi Dan Fink of Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel.
The call was in response to vandalism that defaced the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial with swastikas. Boise police are investigating the vandalism, which occurred just days before the start of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.
“I want to make this incredibly clear: The vandalism that occurred at the Anne Frank Memorial is reprehensible,” Mayor McLean said. “It’s a crime on so many levels, and it’s truly horrific, and I condemn it.”
The mayor said those who vandalized the Anne Frank Memorial are not representative of Boise as a community. She described Boise as a city that is diverse, welcoming and “a proud home to refugees.” But she acknowledged there are some who don’t embrace those values.
Poppen said Micron condemns all forms of violent, discriminatory or intimidating actions in the community. The company is working to create a diverse and inclusive culture where everyone is seen, heard, valued and respected.
“This year, we added the phrase ‘for all’ to our vision statement, ‘Transforming how the world uses information to enrich life for all,’” said Poppen. “The reason we did is that, by adding ‘for all’ to our vision statement, we raised the consciousness of our intention, emphasizing that Micron truly works for and stands for all.”
Sharawn Connors, vice president of Diversity, Equality & Inclusion at Micron, said she was saddened by the recent Boise incidents, calling them “acts of intimidation.”
“I am proud to work for a company that makes a clear statement: We condemn acts of discrimination and support the Boise community in rejecting these actions,” Connors said.
The staff of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, which built and maintains the Anne Frank Memorial, have received an outpouring of support from across the country.
“We were reminded yesterday that love is everywhere,” Prinzing said. “Kindness is everywhere. And so what we want to do is to mobilize that force of kindness — we want it to echo and reflect what the memorial means to the city, to the state, and frankly from the outpouring we’re getting today, from the nation.”
The public meeting can be viewed in its entirety on the City of Boise’s YouTube channel, here.