Business leaders must play an active role in race progress

Sanjay Mehrotra | June 2020

This is unquestionably a pivotal moment for American society. There are signs of hope for real change, but how we move forward from here matters greatly. Business leaders must play an active role in the weeks, months, and years ahead, and I am committed to using Micron’s influence and resources to create positive change.

I do not claim to have the answers. Meaningful progress requires a degree of understanding and empathy for every one of our fellow Americans that we do not possess today, and that can only start with an attitude of personal humility. I have listened to the stories of many Micron colleagues over the past few weeks, stories that illustrate the pain, fear, anger and disparity that racism creates. These conversations underscored my belief that we must change how our society treats people of color. I am sharing a few of Micron’s actions here in the hopes that they encourage other business and community leaders and spark new opportunities for collaborative solutions.

One important step Micron will be taking is to actively engage with community and law enforcement leaders at our largest sites in the U.S.: Boise, Idaho; Manassas, Virginia; San Jose, California; and Lehi, Utah. We aim to foster open and ongoing conversations with community leadership to identify systemic issues and take action to move our communities forward. We also want to learn.

We are recognizing Juneteenth today – commemorating the U.S. emancipation from slavery – for the first time in Micron’s history. This day of education, reflection and celebration of African-American heritage is part of our effort to increase awareness and empathy among our team. We are committed to an inclusive culture and encourage our team members to speak up professionally and constructively when they experience or observe any sort of bias against any individual. This morning, we are hosting a panel for our team members on “Breaking Down Racism and Injustice” featuring Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb and Boise State President Dr. Marlene Tromp. This afternoon, we will be hosting a virtual roundtable discussion with Black-owned businesses from several of the U.S. communities where we operate. We want to help support entrepreneurship and learn how we can be part of a community effort to help these businesses grow and thrive.

Companies must also use their financial resources to encourage efforts to fight racial inequalities. Last week, the Micron Foundation announced $1 million in donations to support underserved communities disproportionately hit by the pandemic. Earlier this month, we gave $500,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, plus more than $450,000 more raised through team member donations supplemented by Micron’s 2:1 match.

Of course, we must also create real change in how we operate. We are implementing additional leader training on inclusivity and extending counseling and support to team members. We are increasing recruitment at historically black colleges and are expanding outreach programs to grow technical knowledge, career preparedness and opportunities for African-Americans and other underserved populations. We are striving to increase our procurement engagement with black and minority-owned businesses and are asking our suppliers to adopt a robust focus on diversity. Longer-term, we are dedicated to finding ways our technology can better use data to provide the understanding and transparency that lead to just and equitable systems within our society.

It is only through understanding the challenges others face that we can create a society that truly works for all people. This week’s Supreme Court decision ensuring equal employment protections for LGBTQ workers is a positive and overdue step toward basic fairness. We have the means and responsibility to remove bias, address racism and eliminate all forms of discrimination to transform ourselves into a society that is grounded in equality and values each and every human being. I look forward to working toward that future together.

This story originally published at: Idaho Statesman - Micron CEO: Business leaders must play an active role in race progress

President And CEO

Sanjay Mehrotra

Sanjay Mehrotra is president and chief executive officer at Micron Technology.
Sanjay Mehrotra