First be Present, Then Listen and Finally, Act
OneAmerica isn't just the name of our company — it represents our belief in unity, togetherness and a commitment to supporting those who need us.
Every individual deserves to be respected and valued for who they are. Period. We are saddened, angered and frustrated to once again witness the brutality, racism and hurt that are tearing our communities apart.
The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis is part of a long list of tragedies and injustices that remind us that people of color carry a heavy and unique burden every day of their lives. It’s also a reminder that while much progress has been made, we are nowhere close to where we need to be. Racism and inequality are an affront to all of us and we must not allow them to continue.
So, what now?
At OneAmerica, our first duty is simply to be present with our black colleagues and allow them to share their pain and frustration without correction or counterpoint. Second, we must listen. This is not our first conversation regarding diversity and inclusion. But we must listen now more intensely and with greater commitment, both internally and in the community.
Third, we must act. We are partnering with leaders in the black community, government officials and other corporations to identify immediate actions and long-term solutions that will make an impact. Internally, our executive team is meeting with all OneAmerica team members who choose to participate in small groups, so we can hear directly about their experiences and pain and invite them to help chart our future. [Please see a video we sent to all OneAmerica associates June 1.]
I am proud of the progress we’ve made toward becoming a more inclusive and caring company.* But we know we must do more. We will not miss this opportunity to become better.
At OneAmerica, we value all people. We support our public safety officers, most of whom do a tough job extremely well. We also support individuals who suffer discrimination or inequities of other types. But the experience of black people in America is the problem in front of us right now, and we must remain firmly focused on it if we are to achieve a different outcome.
We stand united. We are ALL OneAmerica.
OneAmerica Chairman, President and CEO
* Of our last six additions to the OneAmerica board of directors, half were people of color and half were women. Among our executive ranks, we have increased the percentage of people of color by 580% and the percentage of women by 65% during the last five years. We have doubled our investments in innovative community-based programs that address such root causes of racism and inequality as poverty, education and access to jobs. Every OneAmerica employee has the opportunity to earn a living wage of $18 an hour in total cash compensation, plus strong health and retirement benefits.