After George Floyd was murdered, one of my Black colleagues pointedly asked me, “Have you ever worried about being pulled over by a police officer and shot?”
I was stunned. Silent. Numb. I had, in fact, never worried about this. And yet, my colleague and friend has lived with this burden of fear – a challenge I have never known.
Once I heard this question, it changed me – moved me. But more importantly, it changed PTC. It started us on a journey. We have always valued equality, diversity and inclusion and have always supported all members of the PTC community. But, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, we were challenged to do more than simply value and support each other in silence.
Several PTC executives met with my colleague and other key Black members of the team. We learned about some of their horrifying experiences. We listened to these hard truths about the Black experience in the United States and beyond.
PTC decided to step up and take action. Silent no more, we created our Black Empowerment Council and hosted an all-employee meeting with Princeton University African American Studies Professor Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. who guided us through 400 years’ history of the Black experience. We celebrated Black History Month with an internal campaign to acknowledge Black leaders and historic figures who have changed for the better the life sciences, and our world at large. We lifted the voices of our Black Empowerment Council members in their unique rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
People who feel marginalized deserve our full-throated support. And so, never a company to rest on our laurels, PTC launched our full movement: the PTC Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion program. We hired an experienced ED&I leader to guide us. And this readied us to respond to waves of hatred in the U.S. suffered by our Asian American Pacific Islander community this past spring.
At PTC, we take life’s moments – like the exchange of a question between two friendly colleagues – and turn them into movements. It all started with that single question, and today that question echoes throughout our halls.