June 4, 2020
To All Walser Employees,
I’m writing to you this evening to express compassion. The senseless death of George Floyd has been painful for us all to absorb. Some of you may have taken my silence as a reluctance to saying something – in truth, I have taken the last 10 days to internalize and think through this tragedy and how best to communicate and help our employees. I, like all of you, have watched this tragedy unfold around us in our hometown. The town that many of us grew up in, have raised our families in and for me have called home my entire life. For nearly 65 years, Walser Automotive Group has committed itself to its employees, customers, and local communities. Our company has embraced and grown with these individuals and communities over the course of decades.
It truly makes me sad at how divided we have become as a country versus coming together in times of trouble. My efforts have always been to embrace our employees first. To listen and be tolerant of differences. To unite, not divide. To love, not hate.
Our company is deeply committed to our Core Values of doing the right thing and being open-minded. That is no different today than it was when we began. It’s not just what we say it’s what we do. We actively support diversity, inclusion, and belonging through our employee resource groups like Women of Walser and Drive with Pride, our commitment to family, our training programs and benefits, our leadership, and our open doors. I believe that bringing “your whole self” to work each day is what we stand for and truly celebrate. What we do not tolerate ever, is bigotry, racism, discrimination, or hatred.
I also understand that in this difficult time we are all affected differently. You may not know how to feel or what the right words are to say. That is ok. All I ask is that you join me on this journey as we seek to better understand each other. If we engage each other from a place of understanding and compassion, recognizing and respecting our many differences, then we can become more united than divided.
As we’ve said, our actions speak louder than words. We are now working in partnership with our resource groups to facilitate open discussions throughout our company on allyship and support initiatives that encourage recovery and tolerance in our community. Over the past few years, efforts of the Walser Foundation have supported many of the organizations that are now working to provide desperately needed relief to both the South Minneapolis and North Minneapolis communities. We will further support these initiatives and substantially increase our contributions to both Urban Ventures on Lake Street and Northside Funders Group in North Minneapolis.
As your CEO, I’ll never stop advocating for you or the amazing work we do together to strengthen the communities in which we live and work and to foster an environment of compassion and kindness.
Yours in support,
Walser Automotive Group