Equity and justice statement

We are in a moment of great challenge locally and nationally as we confront problems caused by the legacy and ongoing manifestations of racism in the United States. At MSD, we believe such great challenges provide great opportunities.

This is the time to have a community-wide dialogue about race that is honest and productive and moves beyond words to actions that make immediate and long-term differences. Now is the time to listen with open hearts and minds. Now is the time to speak out in favor of justice.

We must address law enforcement policies and practices that lead to unnecessary injury and death. We must address practices that contribute to racial disparities in educational, health and economic outcomes.

The easiest of those for MSD to directly affect is economic outcomes. We have a long record of taking action there and we are committed to continuing and strengthening that effort. First, our MSD workforce demonstrates a commitment to diversity in hiring. Minorities are well represented at every level in our organization.

MSD also spends millions of dollars each year on capital projects such as our ongoing Waterway Protection Tunnel. We require contractors to meet specific targets for minority representation among subcontractors. In fiscal year 2019 we spent over $22 million buying services from minorities and women and created over 700 associated jobs as of January 1, 2020.

We are continuing to build on that effort. Just this month, on June 1, we implemented new supplier diversity goals for construction related projects valued at $150,000 or more. We have committed to contract at least 18 percent of those projects with qualified African American vendors.

And we require that large projects leave behind improvements in the community. For example, our Shawnee Basin project led to improvements in Shawnee Park including the basketball courts that host the annual Dirt Bowl tournament, road access and a boat ramp. The Waterway Protection Tunnel will provide space for the Phase 4 western extension of Waterfront Park.

We are committed to continuing these efforts. Last month, before the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, we hired a director of equity and compliance. One of her early tasks is to lead the internal dialogue on race within MSD. Our commitment is to arrive at greater understanding and, where appropriate, actions that make a difference. We call upon the rest of our community to recognize this great challenge as an amazing opportunity to move our nation forward.

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