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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Fundsters Resolve to Break the Silence

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

As Black Lives Matter protests continue across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death last month, mutual fund industry leaders continue to speak up about racism.

Shundrawn Antwarn Thomas
Northern Trust Asset Management
Shundrawn Thomas, president of Chicago-based Northern Trust Asset Management, posted last week, reflecting on his own experiences of "discrimination by law enforcement officers." (Thomas is black.)

"Far too often and for far too many, the response to discrimination is silence," Thomas wrote:
I resolve to break the silence as it pertains to issues of prejudice and discrimination. I will listen with my head and my heart. I will candidly share my perspective. And I will act with compassion. I respectfully ask each of you, in your own way, to take the first step with me. Let's commit to breaking the silence.

Also last week, Joe Sullivan, chairman and CEO of Baltimore-based Legg Mason, posted that "we can never accept or tolerate the types of tragic, senseless acts of violence and racial injustices that in recent weeks resulted in the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor."

"We are better than that," Sullivan wrote. "Our communities of color deserve better than that."

Sullivan also revealed that the Legg Mason Foundation is donating to an NAACP fund and the Equal Justice Initiative, and upping its match of employee donations to those causes and to the Urban League and Race Forward.

Also last week, Bill Stromberg, president and CEO of Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price, posted about his "sadness and anger about recent incidences of racial injustice and violence against the Black community." (Stromberg also shared an earlier note from the firm's management committee.)

"Racial bias and injustice arenít new to our country. They have been a part of our society since its founding and even in recent decades have not subsided," Stromberg wrote. "For many, it hovers just below the surface, occasionally spiking into our consciousness when terrifying examples become public, as they have recently. For our citizens of color, they are ever present."

"I write today with hope that we are at an inflection point, that real change is possible, and that T. Rowe Price's actions and voice will make a positive difference," Stromberg added. "Though we have made much real progress over the last decade on our diversity journey, we have much farther to go. I want you to know that our commitment to further progress is unwavering." 

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