CHICAGO — Convenience-store retailers continue to spread a message of solidarity and community support as peaceful protests continue over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a police officer on May 25 in Minneapolis.
Chris Gheysens, president and CEO of Wawa, issued the following statement:
A Message From Our CEO on Current Events and Our Actions Going Forward
To Our Communities:
Like so many of you, we are heartbroken over the recent events in our country. The senseless death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others reflects the tragic reality of racial injustice in our communities. At Wawa, we condemn these acts and all acts of racism, violence or injustice. But we realize words without action do little. This is an issue that affects all of us, and we have a responsibility to address this head on.
Our six core values guide every decision we make and every interaction we have with each other and our communities. They have taught us to value people, to do the right thing and so much more. We have long been committed internally and externally to helping everyone in our community, no matter the color of their skin, background or identity; however, we didn’t want to just react and talk about support without looking at ourselves first. We need to do more, and we will.
We will listen even more carefully to our black associates to better understand our own issues and work together to solve them. This won’t be a one-time effort. Rather, it will be a renewed, ongoing and elevated commitment to create more dialogue and an environment that is fully inclusive.
Beyond Wawa, we are committed to increasing our community programs that have a stronger focus on supporting black communities. To start, we are making a multi-year pledge of $100,000 per year to support the National Urban League and their mission of changing lives and empowering African-American communities. The commitment will be directed to their signature education programs to build a stronger future for youth in the communities our stores serve in the Mid-Atlantic region, Florida and Washington, D.C.
Most importantly, our efforts won’t end here. We are committed to listening, learning and continuing to grow so that we always take more meaningful actions to fulfill the needs of all our communities.
All of us at Wawa see the passion and resolve being shown by protestors around the country. We hear their message loud and clear.
Now is the time for us to act.
- Wawa is No. 10 on the Top 40 update to CSP’s2019 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by number of retail outlets.
Wawa, Pa.-based Wawa operates in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.