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Inside Spark

A Message from Jeff Marrazzo: Thoughts on Today’s Verdict

Dear Colleagues,

Nearly a year after George Floyd’s brutal killing, a jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges. This trial is simply one case among many — it’s jarringly similar to the lives lost by other Black Americans.

When George Floyd was murdered last year, I shared with you that these horrors had left me with an overwhelming sense of sadness, both for our country and our City of Brotherly Love. I hoped for better days ahead but recognized that that day would not come until all people were treated without bias or discrimination. I asked you to join me to in channeling our outrage and mourning into action, with the hope that our collective passion could take steps to address racism and social injustice in Philadelphia and our communities.

While we have much more work to do, I am hopeful that the conclusion of this trial will lead to real reforms, accountability, and have a meaningful impact on all of our lives. I also want to acknowledge the uniquely profound meaning of this verdict to those in the Black community and racially marginalized groups that have experienced systemic racism firsthand. I ask you all to remember that this can be an especially stressful time and to give one another space for self-care and empathy. And please remember to also take time for yourself if you need it.

I also remain hopeful because of the collective action that is working to make this monumental change.

In the past year, millions across the country have taken to the streets to demand changes to systemic racism. Reforms at the local and state level are working to implement changes that get at the root cause of these issues. Companies and organizations in various industries have made commitments to increase their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Many individuals also have turned inward, reflected on the injustices they have seen in their lifetime and vowed to do better. Additionally, while the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum, nonprofit organizations, like the NAACP and the Color of Change, continued to push for accountability in racial injustice.

Spark also is a part of this story. We have always prided ourselves in our determination to break barriers and do things that others thought were impossible. We envision a world where no life is limited by genetic disease, and together, I believe we can work towards one where racism, discrimination and social injustice are things of the past.

We have begun taking steps as we outlined recently in our All Employee Meeting and will continue to move our company forward on our journey to a more diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace for all of us.

I continue to feel a sense of urgency in fighting for an end to the systemic racism and oppression that has brought us to this moment. I hope you join me in doing what we can to push for a future with accountability and justice. We can work together to close this chapter in our nation’s history. We will not let this trial be the conclusion of our story.

Sincerely,

Jeff

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