From President and CEO, Walter Isenberg on behalf of Sage Hospitality Group:
My heart is broken. Over the last week, we have all seen the catastrophic and unsettling events that have unfolded across our country in the wake of the tragic and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many other African American people who so needlessly lost their lives.
As I watched the tragic murder of George Floyd I was deeply saddened. The horrific killing of an innocent man by a police officer, while three other officers stood by, watched, and did nothing to stop the murder was sickening. I know that my feelings in this moment cannot compare to those of my African American colleagues, friends and family. I know that I cannot ever truly understand the sadness, anger, fear, disappointment and rage caused by the racism and bigotry against them that is too pervasive in our history and in society today. But I do know that enough is enough.
In the past year, acts of discrimination have been purported on every minority community in America, and it’s hard to fathom the depth and breadth of hatred carried out by Americans on others across our country. From the disproportionate targeting of African American citizens by law enforcement, a Chinese restaurant vandalized because of false connections to COVID-19, Latino families separated and caged at our borders, LGBTQA+ members being targeted for simply being who they are, or a synagogue being bombed because of religious beliefs, these acts of hatred are appalling and must be stopped.
The killing of George Floyd is emblematic of systemic racism that remains in our country. While we have made progress on many fronts, we have so much more to do. We must have a society that provides for equal opportunity, equal access to exceptional schools, equal access to exceptional health care and one that is free of fear of persecution and discrimination of any kind.
We cannot allow our raw emotion and fear of the size of problem keep us from advocating for true, meaningful change. Even the most challenging of journeys start with one small step, and none of us is helpless in the face of this issue. We all have the ability to use our voices to be agents of change and allies for the African American community, and the many other minority communities that make up the fabric of our country.
Sage has always been committed to a basic premise of treating people with respect. Tolerance and understanding of differences is key to our overcoming the tragic events we witnessed this past week. Regardless of who you are, where you come from, how you look or what your beliefs might be, understanding, respect, tolerance and fairness are the standard by which we all must live.
I pray for the day that men and young boys of color in this country don’t need to be fearful of being pulled over by a police officer, and that basic human decency is restored broadly across our communities. Sage will re-double its’ efforts to serve those in our communities. Our core value of giving back to the communities in which we work and live remains a guiding light as we are steadfast in enriching the lives of every member of our community. To that end, today we are making a contribution to the Equal Justice Initiative on behalf of Sage Hospitality Group and all of our associates. You can learn more about the organization and their mission at eji.org.
My thoughts and prayers remain with the family of George Floyd, and sadly for the many families who have been victims of systemic racism and hatred. We pray for you and pray for lasting change that will wipe this blight from our society.