LINCOLN-LEMINGTON-BELMAR (KDKA) — It was not business as usual at Giant Eagle stores Saturday morning.
In the Waterworks Shopping Plaza, employees stood outside the Market District Giant Eagle store silent for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The amount of time George Floyd was on the ground in police custody before he died.
According to store executives, we can’t keep having business as usual.
“What are you going to do about it? Are you going to walk on by or take action?” Giant Eagle President and CEO Laura Shapira Karet said.
She was part of a town hall discussion with thousands of the grocery store chain’s employees. The hope is these conversations continue and create meaningful change in the company and the community, but it will take time.
“I think that they are anxious to share their stories. They want to make sure there is a safe place,” Karet told KDKA.
Over the past couple of weeks, the company did some-reflecting and found it was not doing enough internally.
“Racism does exist here in various forms. I think it stems from not understanding each other,” Karet said inside the Waterworks store.
Giant Eagle is pledging $350,000 to social justice causes. At this point, a group of employees is looking for where the money will make the most impact.
“If there’s one thing I would encourage everyone to do is go start a conversation you normally wouldn’t talk to and ask them to share their story,” Karet said.
After she stopped business as usual with her conversations and spoke with different people, she found out many of them were not all that different at all.
“I think that just by starting those conversations and being willing to listen. If we all did that, it would make a powerful difference,” Karet told KDKA.
She said other companies can do their part by having these conversations and creating programs for change.