Electronics company HP recently announced a new plan to address racial injustice and drive change. On Jan. 15, the company, which earned the No. 43 spot on the 2020 Fair360, formerly DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, unveiled its Racial Equality and Social Justice Task Force. Some of the goals in the task force include strategizing ways to help Black employees advance within HP, working with Black suppliers within the industry and advocating for change at both the local and national level.
Lesley Slaton Brown, chief diversity officer at HP, spoke to Fair360, formerly DiversityInc about the task force and HP’s history of civil rights action. While HP has had a long history of engaging in conversations about racism, Slaton Brown believes the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 opened the floor to more frequent (and frank) discussions. Some of these conversations started by simply asking employees — especially Black employees — how they were doing. But the talks went deeper into issues that were arising as well. As a Black woman herself, Slaton Brown said she worked hard to be authentic in the face of the pain she was feeling.
“I didn’t feel like being on video every day, because I, too, was traumatized by what was going on,” she said. “To be on video and to be smiling and to act like everything was okay didn’t feel authentic to me. The beauty of the culture that we have at HP is that when you’re able to have your voice be heard, people are willing to listen.”