Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has emailed his leadership team with a memo that references the past week’s events and the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. In a email obtained by Quartz, Nadella says the tragedy at Charlottesville — where a 32-year-old woman was killed after a car rammed into anti-white supremacist protesters — was “horrific.”
“It is an especially important time to continue to be connected with people, and listen and learn from each other’s experiences,” says Nadella, in the memo that references the events of “this past week.” Those events include the firing of former Google employee James Damore, after the engineer published a 10-page “manifesto” condemning Google’s diversity efforts and claiming men are biologically more predisposed to working in the tech industry than women. That event triggered Google CEO Sundar Pichai to send his own memo to Google employees last week.
Nadella’s memo also includes a call for employees to honor the company’s values, including diversity and inclusion. “There is no place in our society for the bias, bigotry and senseless violence we witnessed this weekend in Virginia provoked by white nationalists,” says Nadella. “Our hearts go out to the families and everyone impacted by the Charlottesville tragedy.”
Microsoft’s response to Charlottesville comes as Silicon Valley appears to be taking a stronger stance against hate speech, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists. Prominent white nationalist publication the Daily Stormer was dropped by GoDaddy yesterday, and Google also announced plans to cancel the site’s registration with Google Domains. Discord also banned servers that promote Nazi ideology, and Facebook has started deleting links to a viral attack on a Charlottesville victim. Intel CEO Brian Kzranich also stepped down from President Donald Trump’s jobs advisory board.
You can read Nadella’s memo in full, below:
This past week and in particular this weekend’s events in Charlottesville have been horrific. What I’ve seen and read has had a profound impact on me and I am sure for many of you as well. In these times, to me only two things really matter as a leader.
The first is that we stand for our timeless values, which include diversity and inclusion. There is no place in our society for the bias, bigotry and senseless violence we witnessed this weekend in Virginia provoked by white nationalists. Our hearts go out to the families and everyone impacted by the Charlottesville tragedy.
The second is that we empathize with the hurt happening around us. At Microsoft, we strive to seek out differences, celebrate them and invite them in. As a leader, a key part of your role is creating a culture where every person can do their best work, which requires more than tolerance for diverse perspectives. Our growth mindset culture requires us to truly understand and share the feelings of another person. It is an especially important time to continue to be connected with people, and listen and learn from each other’s experiences.
As I’ve said, across Microsoft, we will stand together with those who are standing for positive change in the communities where we live, work and serve. Together, we must embrace our shared humanity, and aspire to create a society that is filled with respect, empathy and opportunity for all.
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