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raceAhead: CEOs Weigh In On Immigration, Charleston Apologizes for Slavery

June 20, 2018, 4:39 PM UTC

Short up top today! I’m on the run to do a series of events before I head to the West Coast for Fortune’s CEO Initiative in San Francisco on June 25 and 26.

Here’s an event you can join. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be interviewing Margaret Keane, the CEO of Synchrony, to help kickoff the Ellevate Network’s annual Action Summit. This year’s theme is Mobilizing the Power of Women.

In a world where it’s easier to find a senior leader named John than a woman CEO, Keane is an MPW treasure. She has a killer origin story—the pride of an NYPD family who surprised her tribe by choosing finance as a career then worked her way up from call center to chief executive. And as a role model, which will be our topic tomorrow, she’s institutionalized equity within Synchrony to make sure everyone feels welcome.

I’ll have a full report for you tomorrow.

I’ll also be asking for her best advice on how to survive and thrive as “the only one” of an under-represented group in a room of powerful people, a question that I know is top of mind for many of you. Anything else you’d like to hear from Margaret Keane? Hit me up.

You can follow our conversation on the live stream here. Tune in at 8:55 am Eastern.

On Point

A growing number of CEOs are condemning the separation of children from their asylum-seeking families at the borderThe critics include the chief executives of Apple, JPMorgan Chase, Uber and members of The Business Roundtable. But Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has decided on a more measured view, though he finds the situation “heart-rendering.” It’s notable particularly because he’s been such an outspoken critic of the administration in the past. He seems to feel that immigration as an issue is too complicated to draw an easy conclusion. In policy matters like this one, he says, “it’s never right against wrong or good against evil,” reports The New York Times. “There are adverse consequences on both sides, that’s what’s really tough.”New York Times

Opinion: Trump’s asylum policy is reminiscent of the Holocaust
Susan F. Martin is no ordinary expert; she’s the Donald G. Herzberg professor emerita of international migration at Georgetown University and previously served as the executive director of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform from 1992 to 1997. She offers a detailed analysis of the dangers the migrants are fleeing, the horror of the new family separation policy and the importance of maintaining an asylum system. “This principle emanates from the experience of the Holocaust—refugees, unlike most migrants, do not have the luxury of waiting for visas; too often they die in the process,” she says. And there are valid reasons to compare it to the Holocaust. “The most notorious example of the earlier era is the refusal of the U.S. to allow the German St. Louis ship to disembark its passengers prior to the Holocaust.”

The City of Charleston apologizes for slavery
About 40 percent of the enslaved people brought to North America came through the port of Charleston, South Carolina, and last night, in an emotional meeting of the City Council I’m sorry to have missed, the city officially apologized. The two-page resolution acknowledged the essential role forced labor played in the economy of the time, “prospering as it did due to the expertise, ingenuity and hard labor of enslaved Africans who were forced to endure inhumane working conditions that produced wealth for many, but which was denied to them.” The were some dissenting voices, and others cautioned that there was more work to do. Mayor John Tecklenburg noted how “enamored and intertwined” the city had been with slavery.  “Do we have a reason to be sorry, to apologize?’’says The New York Times. “We do.”
New York Times

NBA rookie Sterling Brown sues the Milwaukee police
The Bucks shooting guard filed a federal civil rights suit Tuesday against the Milwaukee Police Department and the city, claiming wrongful arrest and excessive force during a 2am encounter outside a Walgreens store. The lawsuit references body cam video of the arrest, which appears to show Brown being tased even though he was not acting aggressively. It also quotes from the Facebook account of one of the officers who was briefly suspended. The officer appears to taunt Brown after the arrest and share a variety of racist memes. "This federal lawsuit reflects the fact that for too long in this city African-American men have been arrested, abused and, as in the case of Dontre Hamilton, killed as a result of bad police work," says Brown's attorney.
Journal Sentinel

The Woke Leader

The “perverse incentives” that keep toxic masculinity alive in tech
This searing piece from Project Include's Ellen Pao talks about the growing awareness of “incels” or involuntary celibates, a loose coalition of mostly men who angrily decry a world that deprives them of their fundamental right to sex because of their looks. She calls them what they are, conspiracy theorists, not victims, and denounces their propensity to encourage violence. In this piece, she tackles their presence in our work lives, particularly tech. “Technology plays a central role for these hate groups, as a career and as a weapon,” she explains. Speaking in online circles where violence, misogyny, and racism thrive, “they pride themselves on their tech contributions; they joke that the world would collapse without them to maintain network infrastructures, and that their companies would fail without them.” And leaders do not seem to know what to do about them, she says. Her willingness to address the culture as former CEO of Reddit is worth the entire article, though. Warning – frank talk and stories of harassment lie ahead.

The poignant meaning behind Senegal’s World Cup triumph
Writer Clint Smith spent a college semester abroad in Senegal, hoping he says, to find a connection to the continent of his ancestors. Instead, he discovered how deeply entrenched his Americaness was, which only found relief in the pickup soccer games he came to love. His memories make a lovely framing for Senegal’s World Cup win against Poland yesterday, a Juneteenth victory for a country that for many future slaves, was the final departure point to an awaiting hell. “I remember standing in the frame of the infamous ‘door of no return.’” He writes. “I remember the smell of sea salt carried by the ocean’s mist, and remember being unable to fathom what such a scent might be like when commingled with the scent of hundreds of chained bodies herded into tight corridors.” Come for the soccer talk, stay for the gorgeously hopeful kicker.
New Yorker

Four ways to be a better ally starring Salesforce’s Molly Q. Ford
Ford is the Sr. Director of Global Equality Programs, and a  force of nature on the conference circuit and the news feeds. So when a fan hands her the microphone, she delivers. Her four tips, courtesy of Culture Amp’s Craig Forman are great reminders that we can be an ally to someone by asking questions, listening, showing up, then speaking up. The last one takes some courage. “For example, if you hear someone make a crass, rude, or racist joke, don’t let it slide — use your voice as an ally to let them know it’s inappropriate or offensive,” she says.
Culture Amp


Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers, /  Ere the sorrow comes with years?  / They are leaning their young heads against their mothers, — / And that cannot stop their tears. / The young lambs are bleating in the meadows ; / The young birds are chirping in the nest ; / The young fawns are playing with the shadows; /  The young flowers are blowing toward the west— / But the young, young children, O my brothers, / They are weeping bitterly ! / They are weeping in the playtime of the others, /  In the country of the free. 
Elizabeth Barrett Browning