J&J pledges $10m to fight racism in America

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) this week pledged $10 million this week to fight racism and injustice in the U.S.

In a response to the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., and Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Ga., J&J CEO Alex Gorsky said the $10 million pledge will span the next three years. It will include extending the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company’s support of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and its initiatives, such as the “Talking About Race” program.

Gorsky’s statement was the latest from major medtech companies reacting to the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody, and the ensuing nationwide protests.

J&J will look for other social justice partnerships to help address “the inequities in medical care that have long plagued minority communities — gaps that have recently been both highlighted and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gorsky said. “We have been working through a major initiative that will help address issues including underrepresentation in clinical trials, equipping community health workers, and strengthening existing community medical systems. I look forward to sharing more details with you about this soon.”

Separately, Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) CEO Tom Polen called Floyd’s death and the national reaction it has spurred “a turning point for long-overdue change.”

“Our commitment to our values — and our fundamental belief that inclusion and diversity are essential to our purpose and our strategy — compel us to speak up against racism, divisiveness and hate and to stand up as one BD in support of justice and equity for all,” Polen wrote in a LinkedIn post. “After all, if we expect unity, respect, fairness and inclusiveness in our own organization, we must also aspire to these same values in all the countries and communities we operate in throughout the world.”

Gorsky said J&J will organize listening tours and events to promote dialogue among leaders and employees. The results will “shape an action plan for what we need to do within our company to live up to our commitment to equality,” he said. “And because we are able to use our size and scale for good, we will also ensure this action plan is understood and upheld by our suppliers and other business partners so that the effects are as far-reaching as possible.

“Most immediately, to our black colleagues: Please know we see the extra burden that is weighing on you during this already difficult time,” Gorsky added. “Please take the time you need to process, stand up for your beliefs, and do whatever you need to do to take care of your families, communities and yourselves.”

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