Where we go from here

Chairman and CEO Jeff Harmening reflects on the killing of George Floyd and shares how General Mills is taking action to help create a more just and inclusive culture.
George Floyd memorial in Minneapolis

It is clear from George Floyd’s death – and the many that preceded it – that systematic injustice and racism still exist. You can see the difference in treatment in our criminal justice system… our schools… our healthcare system… and beyond.

We come to this moment in our history, humbly, fully realizing there are no easy solutions. But we also come with an unwavering commitment to find answers to the question of our time: where do we go from here?

Today, I write to share how General Mills is starting its journey. And we begin with a commitment to both convene courageous conversations – and take courageous actions.

We are starting with a strong foundation as a company. We have taken many actions over the past decades to create a more diverse and inclusive culture here at General Mills. From the diversity of our board and senior leadership team, to our support of the underserved in our communities through hunger relief and educational support, to legislative actions in support of the LGBTQ+ community we have demonstrated the courage to take significant actions.

To be clear, that strong foundation only means this: we have high expectations for ourselves. Our belief in being a force for good compels us to act.

Because collectively we know it’s not just about what you say… but about what you do.

We’re focusing our initial actions in five areas

RELIEF: We have mobilized a donation to those families most directly impacted by the destruction in the Twin Cities. We are providing access to food and household supplies. And we are working to create pop-up food pantries to bring nourishment and stability.

RECOVERY: We are helping with the recovery, joining with other foundations and companies to help the many neighborhood businesses that were damaged or destroyed.

CONVENING: We are also exploring ways to help convene courageous conversations throughout our community and our country. Because the true challenge before us can’t be solved by writing checks and walking away.

PARTNERING: And, because we are stronger together, we’re actively working to build a broad coalition that includes many of our corporate peers here in the Twin Cities – partners who share our bedrock commitment to diversity and inclusion.

VOICING: Lastly, we know some solutions simply can’t come from us. And so we are also looking at where we as a corporate citizen might lend our voice and support to possible policy and legislative action.

The current civil unrest began in Minneapolis. But it spread to other cities across our country and across the world because it’s NOT just one community’s problem.

The magnitude of the challenge in front of us – to create a just and inclusive culture – is significant.

We all have a lot of work to do.

Photo courtesy: Hanna Johnson

Editor’s note: Listen to a podcast with James Momon, the senior director of Global Inclusion at General Mills, here.