Since Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency, we remain concerned for Atlanta workers in a climate that seems to lack a commitment to unconditional human worth. As a core value, SHRM-Atlanta champions the highest ethical and equitable standards of professional practice and accountability in HR, and we hope every industry would do the same. Why does senseless violence continue? Why can’t we lean into change as a necessary part of growth? While some companies have evolved since the June 2020 murders and ensuing protests, many organizations have stalled in their efforts.

It should not take loss of life for procedures, training, and accountability practices to change. We must recognize and support each other’s individualism with respect, compassion, empathy, and allyship. Some employees might be retraumatized by what they see in the media and not be at their best this week. Others might be concerned for their physical safety amid violence from law enforcement or protestors. Surely we can all agree that the deep divisions in our community are not solved by ignoring the context in which we live and work.

Today we ask HR professionals to share their expertise in encouraging dialogue, outlining expected behaviors for the safety of their teams, and explaining free speech in the workplace. If you choose to engage in protests, please do so safely. If you choose to view the body camera footage from the killing of Tyre Nichols, consider how it might affect you personally. If you want to engage with your SHRM-Atlanta community about what you’re experiencing related to this week’s mass shootings or other events, please post in the Member Exchange (you can elect to do so anonymously).

Please advance continuous learning in your organizations to make a positive impact that can extend throughout Atlanta and beyond.

Resources linked above:

Leading during traumatic and triggering events

Courageous Conversations at Work: A Guide To the Discussion You Are Scared Of

Workplace safety during civil unrest

Was it something I said? Legal protections for employee speech

How to Protest Safely

Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot

SHRM-Atlanta Connect | Member Exchange