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GUEST COLUMN — BASF donating to NAACP, flying Pride flag to promote unity

The last several weeks have been difficult for our nation amid civil unrest. The tragic death of George Floyd, as well as the deaths of Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others show that change is needed, and we cannot be silent in the face of what is happening.

I know the recent events have impacted our communities, our nation, and society in general.

We must speak up against injustice, racism, hate and discrimination. Those forces have no place at BASF or BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals Port Arthur site, and we condemn them.

We reinforce our long-standing commitment of zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment in all forms.

With deep sympathy for the victims of racially motivated violence across the country and around the globe, we reach out in the spirit of empathy.

We also stand together for the positive change that is critically needed. As a corporate citizen we add our voice to those calling for true change in how we include people of color and other minorities into our society and have them participate in the opportunities it provides.

At our Port Arthur site, we are working together in an environment of openness, respect and trust to create a BASF where we all feel seen, heard, valued and connected.

We believe in the power of civil dialogue to bridge differences. We create spaces where employees can be heard and where we are able to explore our differences through conversations that allow us to see the world through different perspectives and build cultural bridges. We extend these spaces outside of the company when interacting with our many neighbors and stakeholders standing together for positive change.

Our leadership team remains dedicated to diversity, inclusion, and continued efforts to ensure an equal and secure workplace for employees and safer communities for all.

This work has never been more important, and it requires that we do what we can to achieve meaningful change together.

For these reasons and to demonstrate our dedication to diversity and inclusion, and to do so with visible action, BASF will donate $100,000 to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Empowerment Programs.

This donation will help the NAACP continue their work to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

Additionally, from June 15-22 BASF sites across North America flew the Pride flag (also known as the rainbow flag) in support of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) employees and their allies. This longstanding tradition reflects our commitment to inclusion for our LGBTQ colleagues.

Ultimately, diversity and inclusion are not just something we say, it is something we live and act on each and every day. At the Port Arthur site, it is our behaviors and actions that create a work environment in which people say, “It feels different here; I feel accepted, and I like it.”

I remain steadfast to maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace where all employees feel secure, recognized and heard. Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to BASF Core Values and will remain a focus area at our site.

Greg Masica is VP and site manager for BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals. For more information, email carol.hebert@basf.com.