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June 1, 2020
The shocking and appalling death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week is another painful reminder that we are not where we want and need to be as a country. Bias and racism remain real, and thwart our desire as a country to live in harmony where everyone is respected and has the opportunity to reach their potential.
The peaceful protests that ensued were a collective voice saying we’ve had enough – it’s time for meaningful change. This has been entirely appropriate, and is the mark of a country like ours where freedom of expression is an ingrained right.
Sadly, a small group of agitators has caused widespread destruction of private property and general violence and disruption. This is wrong and serves to undermine the goals of peaceful protest, while also setting back many of these communities for years to come.
At Citizens, we hold ourselves to the standard to which we aspire for our country – one that allows no tolerance whatsoever for hatred, discrimination and violence. We remain committed to embracing the core tenets of our Credo every day to promote equality and inclusivity, and to operate with understanding, empathy and care. We have long focused on building strong communities in our footprint by addressing basic needs, promoting economic opportunity for all and bringing people together. This focus is now more relevant than ever.
In order to protect the safety of our colleagues and customers we have taken a number of immediate steps, including temporarily closing some branches and offices. This is unfortunate in light of the vital work we have been doing to support our customers throughout the pandemic. We are committed to renewing full service in these areas as soon as it is safe to do so and will continue to monitor this situation closely.
As we have done over the last several months – and as we have always done – we will support one another and stay connected. We will remain steadfast in our commitment to diversity and inclusion and strive to further strengthen our efforts to promote an environment – and a world – where everyone is treated equally regardless of their differences. Let’s do our part in ending racism and discrimination and ensuring that everyone is recognized, respected and heard. I long for that day to arrive – it can’t happen soon enough.
Bruce Van Saun
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer