Amid a protracted period of civil unrest following the killing May 25 of George Floyd in Minneapolis, numerous businesses and organizations have issued public statements embracing diversity and rejecting racism in all its forms. On June 22, Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association, issued a statement challenging the baking industry to “do better” when it comes to inclusion, particularly within the senior managerial ranks of baking companies. He acknowledged that the issue of racial equality is “raw and vexing” but called for “open dialogue,” an “open mind” and an “open heart” on the subject. MacKie’s comments follow:
As bakers, we applaud the richness of diversity and the differences that make our country a beacon to the world. America has always been more than a geographic location. Since its founding and despite its flaws, America is a promise. A promise of opportunity for success, of equality for all.
The promise established many of today’s baking companies as leaders in the hearts of their then immigrant communities. The promise led many of our industry’s companies and employees to achieve great accomplishments. However, for many of our country’s citizens, the promise has gone unfulfilled.
The baking industry’s diverse workforce includes people of all races, nationalities and religions. Our successes directly reflect the hard work and passion of hundreds of thousands of skilled, dedicated employees supplying ingredients and equipment, and baking the products which feed our country and the world.
While our workforce is extremely diverse, our senior management ranks are an area that requires attention and work. We must foster an environment where we, as an industry, can have constructive and purposeful conversations around the very raw and vexing issue of racial equality. The first step toward action and ultimately results is an honest dialogue with an open mind and an open heart. In order to heal the symptoms, it is critical to understand and address the underlying causes.
It is our responsibility, as a leading food manufacturing industry, to do better. The dedication of our workforce matches the dedication of our sector’s leaders to ensure the equal treatment of everyone in our industry and our country. We are committed to helping the baking industry have a constructive, action-oriented dialogue. We are committed to improving our industry’s diversity from the plant floor to the board room. Most importantly, we are committed to upholding America’s promise for all of its citizens.