Recent events, especially the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, have reminded us of what African-Americans know all too well: that too often black lives are not treated with the dignity accorded to white lives. I am saddened by our current reckoning, but I recognize we need to do much more to create a just, fair, and peaceful society. Many of us are struggling with sadness, anger, and disbelief.
I hope that together we can consider what we are doing, or failing to do, to root out conscious and unconscious bias in our lives. This must be a time not just of reflection but of action. There is nothing easy about any of this. Even if it is uncomfortable, we must recognize and resist racism when we see it in our daily lives.
Comfort Systems USA will be expanding our existing affirmative action programs and inclusion training. We are making donations to charities that help people cope with the present economic challenges, both in Houston and in other geographies we serve. We also plan to convene with the leaders of our locations and regions to seek ways to better provide economic opportunity to African-Americans and other disadvantaged groups.
Most importantly, now is a time to engage with and support our African-American friends and co-workers, to acknowledge their pain, and to stand together. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
For over 20 years when facing challenges at Comfort we have chosen to pull together, not pull apart. Now is a time for us all, together, to pull upwards.