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Michael Dell On Racial Injustice: "I've Always Believed Diversity Is Power"

‘The murder of George Floyd is an atrocity. We all stand in horror, grieving as a nation alongside his family and his community. To see a man killed, a life ended cruelly and senselessly is something that will haunt me forever’ says Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO, Dell Technologies

Dell Technologies Chairman and CEO Michael Dell on Monday took to Twitter to share a letter sent to all Dell employees in which he asked them space for tough conversations on how to drive positive socio-economic change for communities of color and find ways to make the changes to be an employer of choice for everyone.

Dell, who normally stays behind the scenes with his philanthropy, publicly addressed the issue in what is for him was uncharacteristically strong language.

"The murder of George Floyd is an atrocity," he wrote. "We all stand in horror, grieving as a nation alongside his family and his community. To see a man killed, a life ended cruelly and senselessly is something that will haunt me forever. But for people of color in communities all over this country and around the world -- that footage is not a surprise, it is all too familiar. The fault lines of our society are laid bare. From the devastating and disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 to the devastating impacts of police brutality, the long-standing racial injustice in America that began 400 years ago is impossible to ignore. And the people who have been ignored are now demanding to be heard. We are listening."

[Related: Andy Jassy, Other Tech Leaders Denounce Racism After George Floyd’s Death]

Dell wrote he recently had a meeting with black employees to get their views on how the company is doing in terms of creating a company where all team members feel safe and valued.

The key lesson was the need to create space for tough conversations, have greater leadership accountability, and take actions to help drive positive socio-economic change for communities of color, Dell wrote.

"I am optimistic about what we've built at Dell, of our culture that's designed to support every team member in reaching their full potential, and of our vision for where we're going," he wrote. "I am optimistic about what we've built at Dell. ... I've always believed diversity is power. It's how we win and win the right way. We can lead by example into our inclusive culture. We can lead by example and surround each other in love and support when we need it most."

Looking forward, Dell is encouraging employees and partners to join its Black Networking Alliance employee resource group in an upcoming moment of reflection to hear from those most affected by the recent violence. In addition, Brian Reave, Dell Technologies' chief diversity and inclusion officer, will be talking with employees and partners to find new ways to invest in ways to help drive measurable positive change.

"Because for all the work we do within our own company, there will never be true justice or equality until we root out the rotten underbelly of racism that is eating away at the most cherished values we hold dear," he wrote "Real change requires us all to actively participate in the hard work that lies ahead ... the hard work that has to be done for our nation and our world to heal, grow stronger, and for us to move forward as one people with a shared voice."

Dell's comments echoed those of some of the IT industry's top executives who are concerned about both the issue of racial injustice and the riots that have followed.

This includes comments from Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, which is also owned by Dell Technologies. Gelsinger Monday said via twitter, "During this time of great global hardship, even more acutely within the black community, we’re all deeply reminded how much we must be neighbors. Today my prayer is for equality – there is no time or place for racial injustice."

Michael Dell should be applauded for taking such a strong public stand on this issue, said Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and Dell channel partner.

"It's rare to see the CEOs of large public companies take such a stand," Tanenhaus told CRN. "CEOs typically take PR (public relations) training to be neutral about politics and similar issues, and leave it to others to take the stands. But now the dam has burst. Dell and others are taking a stand. We're seeing some pretty awful stuff. We need to be together on this."

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