Yesterday AQ CEO Jim Contardi sent the following message to AQ team members sharing his thoughts on the events going on across the country. In it, he condemns racism and violence towards communities of color, and AQ's steadfast support of our employees to express themselves and have a voice both publicly and privately.
After the tragic events of last week and the ensuing events of the weekend, I woke up today feeling saddened, frustrated, and angry. I am deeply saddened by the ongoing racism and violence affecting communities of color around the US, frustrated by our country’s inability to authentically come to grips with this, and angry that our elected officials do not seem to be taking appropriate action. I suspect that many of you share similar feelings.
For me, this issue is not a political one. Rather, it is a moral one that affects many people within our company - both those of color and those who care deeply for and empathize with them. Continued injustice towards these communities is far from what we stand for as a company. While this should go without saying, AQ stands with communities of color against racism, hate, and violence. We value diversity and inclusion because we respect and admire the unique gifts and perspectives of each member of our team.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that "A riot is the language of the unheard." That feels as relevant now as it was when he was alive. For those of us struggling with the angst of continued violence against people of color in our nation, let me just say: I hear you. AQ hears you. We will work to make your voices heard and we will listen. We support your right to be heard in a non-violent way. It’s clear that AQ is a group of passionate people, so we support you if you wish to express that publicly, or to process it privately.
Like everyone else right now, I am still figuring this out. We need to do better as a business community to address issues of race and discrimination, and I want to start by creating space to make voices within the company heard. I - and other leaders at AQ - are available to listen to your feedback on how to best navigate this, and we will be organizing group discussions to process this together. Unfortunately, I am only human and I can't promise I will get this right on the first try. But I can promise that I will listen, and that as a company we will continue to live by our values and support our employees above everything else.
Be well and stay safe,