PetSmart, employee seek resolution over BLM face mask issue | State and Regional

“I think that today was the first time that Shaunna finally felt like there was some serious attempts by PetSmart to acknowledge what happened, that what happened is wrong and that it needs to be addressed,” Vic said. “But we’re going to have further discussions with them next week.”

Kirk’s mask became an issue with store management despite the fact that the company took a public stand in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd’s death while in custody of Minneapolis police officers.

Company CEO J.K. Symancyk, in a message published on the pet store giant’s website, said at the time that they must all commit to “standing with our Black associates and communities, to taking meaningful action, to being held accountable, and saying what we must until it is no longer necessary: Black Lives Matter.”

To that end, the company has started a scholarship fund for associates of color and enhanced recruiting to improve Black representation within the company.

But the phrase in question — more than others — has become a rallying cry against police brutality and institutional racism. It has been featured prominently in the past few months during the Floyd protests.

PetSmart declined to specify the company’s policy regarding face coverings. But, Kirk said if the company was going to talk the talk on issues of race, it has to walk the walk.

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