30 May 2020
HBS Stands Together
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Dear members of the HBS community,

With Commencement behind us, I had thought I would take a pause from my Sunday letters. Yet, the painful events that have roiled our country in the last few days impel me to reach out to you now. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the nationwide protests that have ensued, have once again brought to the fore the persistent discrimination that threatens the very lives of Black people in our country and our community.

These deaths are abhorrent, and each of us is grappling with emotions that range from shock and anger to revulsion. They go against our most cherished values of equality and respect for all, especially when the institutions that are meant to provide protection and justice for every member of our society appear to be systematically failing some.

Let there be no question: we stand with our Black students, staff, and faculty members.

This is a tragic and difficult time for the United States, and we can hope that it may prove a turning point. Unfortunately, it is not an isolated moment. Over the last year, we also have witnessed horrific acts targeting people who are Jewish, Latinx, and Asian. Worldwide we have seen people targeted for their race, their ethnicity, their gender, their religion, their sexual orientation, and more.

Our mission at Harvard Business School is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. As members of the Harvard community, we are uniquely positioned: we have access to people and resources that can help us learn more deeply about the history of racism and oppression. We have platforms through which we can engage and elevate the voices of those who are hurting. We can put our weight behind organizations that propel racial progress. We must not merely hope for change, but dedicate ourselves to bringing it about.

As I have said before, I believe business can be a powerful force for good in society. To that end, there is a broader role we also can play: to create organizations that—consistent with our values—enable everyone to thrive; to pursue scholarship that helps managers understand difference and how to lead difference effectively; and to model our community values in our words and actions, every day.

Our hearts ache alongside everyone who is hurting. Within our community, please remember there are resources available to you should you need them, including counseling through Harvard University Health Services (617.495.5711) and Student and Academic Services (sas@hbs.edu).

In normal times we would be gathering as a community in solidarity. This ability, like so many other aspects of our lives, is altered by the pandemic, and so instead I am writing to you today to ask: although we can’t come together in person now, let's nonetheless join together in recommitting ourselves to creating a more just and inclusive society, here at HBS and beyond.

Best,
Nitin

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