Black Main Street

CEO of AT&T Emphatically Supports Black Lives Matter

At a time of social unrest due to the police killings of unarmed Black men, women, and children; several high-profile Black athletes and entertainers have said they don’t see the need for the Black community’s protests. But the CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, a middle-age white male, gave an impassioned speech to his company’s employees as to why America’s racial injustices have to be confronted. Mr. Stephenson boldly told the crowd, “Tolerance is for cowards.” He said tolerance and inaction is what has kept America’s racist practices thriving because it’s hidden behind a wall of civility, and turning a blind eye is tearing the country apart. Mr. Stephenson continued, “Our communities are being destroyed by racial tension, and we’re too polite to talk about it.”

Randall Stephenson told the crowd of several hundred people a personal story of what his friend, a Black physician who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, has had to endure. Mr. Stephenson said he was “confused” for a while by his friend’s racial views, but that he finally got the frustrations after hearing the numerous stories of his friend being refused service at restaurants, being called “boy”, and the fear of being stopped by the police in his own town. Mr. Stephenson said, “Now I’ve got to tell you, I get his anger when somebody responds to the Black Lives protest by saying ‘all lives matter,'” He continued:

When a parent says, ‘I love my son,’ you don’t say, ‘What about your daughter?’
When we walk or run for breast cancer funding and research, we don’t say, ‘What about prostate cancer?’
When the president says, ‘God bless America,’ we don’t say, ‘Shouldn’t God bless all countries?’

This passionate speech on race relations in America was given at AT&T’s annual Employee Resource Groups Connect conference at the company’s corporate headquarters in Dallas, TX to about 2,100 employees. Mr. Stephenson admitted he was shocked to hear the stories of what his friend has had to endure, but “If this is a dialogue that’s to begin at AT&T, I feel like it probably ought to start with me.”

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