To Our Friedman, Kannenberg & Company, P.C. (“FKCo”) Community
Black lives matter. The murder of George Floyd, and far too many others in Black communities, has shaken all of us at FKCo to our core. Our CPA firm of 35 years is a professional business built on the core value of employing people and welcoming clients regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, age or national origin. FKCo is not just a CPA firm…we are a family to our employees and we are an extended family to our clients. We know that systemic racism in our country perpetuates the unnecessary killings of Black and Brown Americans (particularly Black men), and we want to say – here and emphatically – that if you do not agree with us on this philosophy, then perhaps we are not the right family for you.
We condemn those responsible for the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and countless other Black Americans and demand justice for their families. We condemn all acts of racism, hatred, bigotry or violence against not only members of our black family, but against any minority or marginalized community. And, we condemn ourselves for not acting sooner to preserve the core value of equal justice we hold so dear. We will no longer sit silent, we will no longer just speak out. We will act swiftly and with a continued determination to combat racism, knowing we are doing our part to help undo centuries of damage that has brought us here today.
Now we must explore our own failures and begin to do our part in changing a culture that makes it possible for police to murder a black citizen right before our eyes. We must consider the enormity of racism by acknowledging that there are countless acts of racist-fueled hatred and violence that do not get filmed, and that racism goes further than just police brutality. We must consider the message we are sending to our children by staying silent or doing virtually nothing when these injustices occur. And we must take an honest look in the mirror to confront our own internal bias towards those who are different than us. We always felt we were doing our part by hiring and promoting people based on merit, not the color of their skin, or gender or age or sexuality, and servicing clients from all walks of life. We now realize this was naïve and not nearly enough.
We are doing a lot of internal soul searching at FKCo with the intent of meaningful discussion turned into action. We are not fooled into thinking we have all of the answers…but we know if we stay silent and fail to enact meaningful change, we will continue to be part of the problem.
It is tempting to rush a new mission statement or make promises of charitable giving. Although important, we are not interested in symbolic gestures or quick fixes. There are no quick fixes to 400+ years of racial injustice. Whatever we do must be sustainable and scalable. We have to change the inner soul of our company to make a real impact. As a small business, we know we will only have a small impact in the big scheme of things, but we should remember the impact even one person can make.
Diversity has always been the key to America’s strength. In a country where we are suffering through a period of deep political divisions, we know love, understanding, compassion and unity are key ingredients to any real change. We at FKCo are committed to making our company one that proactively fights discrimination and strives for true equality and justice for everyone. When we have our plans in place, you will hear from us again. In the interim, we welcome any guidance from those experienced in these matters as well as like-minded suggestions to what should be our common cause.
Respectfully and lovingly,
Alan Friedman & Don Kannenberg, Jr., Partners
Friedman, Kannenberg & Company, P.C.