June 04, 2020

We sat down to listen to the Black members of our McDonald’s community, and what we heard was powerful

Wendy Lewis, Chief Global Diversity Officer and Vice President of Community Engagement
Wendy LewisChief Global Diversity Officer and Vice President of Community EngagementChicago, Illinois, USA

Wendy Lewis, Heidi Capozzi and Chris Kempczinski during the global employee town hall on June 2, 2020.

On Tuesday morning, more than 5,000 of our employees from around the world came together as one McDonald’s community to listen to, learn from and engage with one another.

We heard from Black members of our McDonald’s community – their pain, their thoughts, their hopes, their fears. The transparency and courage with which Nosa, Will, Danielle and others shared their stories as Black men and women in America was powerful. It was emotional. It was, I hope, eye-opening.

We discussed allyship – how, as CEO Chris Kempczinski put it: Allyship is about action. It’s not about simply being friendly, or being likeable, or even just not being racist. Allyship is about investing your time, your whole self, and standing up and speaking out.

We spoke candidly about what we must do better, and acknowledged that we will have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s time to listen differently.

Importantly, we started a conversation that we will continue.

With our employees in mind, McDonald’s made a $500,000 donation to the NAACP and a $500,000 donation to the National Urban League. This week, we’ve hosted town halls with U.S. franchisees and offered support and guidance on how our Black colleagues can maintain their wellbeing. I'm proud of these actions, but as Heidi Capozzi, our Global Chief People Officer, said during Tuesday’s town hall: This can’t be a one-and-done. This has to be an ongoing commitment for all of us.

I’m positive our McDonald’s community will continue to learn and engage with one another, even when it’s difficult. Because it’s necessary.

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