The latest racist events in our country have left me heartbroken, confused and angry yet again. The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have reminded us of the inequality and injustice in this country. It is frightening and unacceptable that these inequalities have persisted for so long.
I recognize that some of you are scared to go for a jog, drive your car, or encounter a police officer. That’s wrong and I know we can do more to change this. I'm a white male. I grew up in the Midwest and now live in Southern California, where the Black population is a small percentage of the community. I will not pretend to understand the weight of the years of injustice and inequality that our Black friends and colleagues have experienced. What we are seeing played out across the country is tragic and difficult, and I know we all long for change. As an iconic brand that lives and operates in communities around the world, we can facilitate some of that change, together.
Since day one, I’ve said that people are my first priority and that remains. I am committed to fostering inclusion and embracing and supporting diversity in all of its forms. This is something I feel we all can strive to live by. We have a lot of work to do to combat systemic racism in America, but one of the first things I want to start with is listening.
Last week, Yum! Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer James Fripp hosted a panel among our employees at the Restaurant Support Center to start that process, and now we’re going to open the same opportunity up to our restaurant teams. Through these conversations, we will foster an environment where people are seen and heard. We will come together, share experiences and feelings, listen and understand different perspectives, and ultimately turn our emotions into action to stand up against racism. I ask you to join me on this journey in living a more inclusive life where we value and respect that which makes us different. Our Taco Bell Foundation will also continue to work with partners that impact communities of color and support youth education.
While I don’t have all the answers right now, I am committed to being part of the long-term solution. Let me be clear: we don’t tolerate racism or violence against Black people. And we demand inclusivity. We have more work to do and Taco Bell will continue to lead and drive positive change amongst our communities and beyond.
I promise this won’t be the last you hear from me on this issue. I will be back in touch with our further actions going forward and know that I stand with all of you.
CEO, Taco Bell Corp.