Data storage CEOs decry US racism, in response to George Floyd protests

The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 sparked mass protests against police brutality against black Americans across the USA. With President Trump urging the states to use the US military to quell civic unrest, the mostly peaceful protests show little sign of abating.

There are plenty of recent cases of unarmed black Americans who have died in police custody. But it feels different this time. For instance, in our small neck of the woods, CEOs of US tech companies are lining up to decry endemic racism against African-Americans and urging action to end this blight.

We now publish statements from four CEOs of data storage companies. We will update this article, if more storage leaders follow suit.

George Kurian

NetApp CEO George Kurian said in a statement that during the Covid-19 pandemic “at precisely the time when we are called upon to be our very best, we are witness to multiple acts of unspeakable cruelty and social injustice, particularly against the African-American community in the United States.”

He decried “the longstanding inability of America to truly confront our shared history,” and said NetApp has conducted an all-hands meeting to discuss the issue. He called on NetApp employees to “listen and learn from our underrepresented colleagues. 

“For it is in listening, that we can begin to really understand, and from genuine understanding comes empathy. And from empathy begins the journey to root out intolerance, bigotry, and injustice in all its forms.“

Dheeraj Pandey

Nutanix Chairman and CEO Dheeraj Pandey posted a message on LinkedIn: “Nutanix stands in solidarity with the Black community against hate, racism, and injustice. We join the community, and all of humanity, as we mourn the death of George Floyd, the latest senseless loss among many others.”

“To the Nutanix family, and most especially to our Black colleagues: we grieve with you. We see you and we support you. A world where you feel unsafe is a world that is unsafe for everyone. A world that is set up to see you fail, fails all of humankind. … Changing the status quo is everyone’s responsibility.”

Mohit Aron.

Mohit Aron, Cohesity founder and CEO, wrote on Twitter: “My heart goes out to anyone affected by racial intolerance. @Cohesity we don’t tolerate racism, bigotry, gender bias, or discrimination. I came to the U.S. because of the ideology that everyone should be treated equally and that is also why Respect is one of our core values.”

Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michal Dell posted a message to all Dell employees. It said: “The murder of George Floyd is an atrocity,” he wrote. “We all stand in horror, grieving as a nation alongside his family and his community. To see a man killed, a life ended cruelly and senselessly is something that will haunt me forever. But for people of color in communities all over this country and around the world – that footage is not a surprise, it is all too familiar. The fault lines of our society are laid bare. From the devastating and disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 to the devastating impacts of police brutality, the long-standing racial injustice in America that began 400 years ago is impossible to ignore. And the people who have been ignored are now demanding to be heard. We are listening.”

Michael Dell

He declared: ”Because for all the work we do within our own company, there will never be true justice or equality until we root out the rotten underbelly of racism that is eating away at the most cherished values we hold dear. 

Real change requires us all to actively participate in the hard work that lies ahead … the hard work that has to be done for our nation and our world to heal, grow stronger, and for us to move forward as one people with a shared voice.”

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