On May 30, Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), released a statement following the tragic events in Minnesota.
“At the National Association of Manufacturers, we share the concerns of many Americans about the unfolding events in Minneapolis and in cities and communities nationwide. But even more tragic than these events is the knowledge that, at their root, they are not new. We have spent the last few months talking about a ‘return to normal.’ For too many people across the country, images of oppression and loss is what ‘normal’ looks like.
“We cannot, and we must not, accept that. It is not acceptable for a young black man who has watched images of the enfolding horror of George Floyd’s last gasps for breath while pinned under the knee of a white police officer, to think, ‘could this be me, or my brother, or my father?’ We cannot stand idly by when a young black girl is traumatized into thinking that she will never get a fair chance in life as she bears witness to that gut-wrenching image of a white man expressing self-righteous dominion over someone like her.
“There are too many among us who believe there are those who are ‘less than’ or not worthy of humanity, dignity and equal justice. To turn a blind eye to this blatant bigotry and to not do all we can to eradicate it, makes us less than human. It undermines all that America stands for.
“To be very clear, manufacturers in America do not condone violence or destruction of any kind. But we absolutely stand hand in hand with all those who seek respect, fairness and the right to equality of opportunity that America has promised for centuries and that, even now, has not been delivered to all her citizens.
“This is not a time to sit back and wait for action from others. It’s not enough to say ‘this doesn’t concern me,’ or ‘this isn’t my job, my cause, my fight.’ The manufacturing community, and the larger business community—made up of people from every background, every race, every state and every neighborhood in the country — has a responsibility that is as urgent now as at any time when our nation seemed on the edge of destruction. We must be part of the solution — to end the polarization and division that routinely manifests in our country. We must bring our people together in common purpose, to strengthen the values that bind us together, to rebuild our communities, to reinstill faith in ourselves and to ensure that all of our citizens have a right to live safely and securely.
“If we fail, America will not endure. If we are to succeed, it must be together.”
NAM is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states.