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Reflections on the tragic events of this past weekend

May 19, 2022
By David C. Benson, President & Interim CEO

We live in a time when racially motivated violence and murder driven by senseless hate have become common. The killing of 10 Black people in Buffalo this past weekend, killed because they were Black, offends our shared humanity and, shockingly, no longer shocks us. We were also saddened by the weekend church shooting in Laguna Woods, California, targeting Taiwanese people and resulting in one death and five wounded. We grieve with the families who lost loved ones, we share in their sorrow, we stand against the racism and hate that caused these deaths, and we stand in support of communities affected.

These acts of terror once again call upon our nation to both reflect upon our past and commit to a different future.

Such events re-teach the lesson from our nation’s history that racism, in all its mutations, is in fact a form of violence. When we tolerate it in our workplaces, our communities, or in our public discourse, the inevitable conclusion is bloodshed. Black people and others who have experienced racism in this country and around the world have known this for centuries.

More than that, this weekend’s events are a call to action because only actions, not words, can end this scourge of weaponized hate in our society. We must recognize safety and security as basic rights that must be afforded to all our people. Everyone. No exceptions.

We must act to make hate unacceptable. This will require us to guard against complacency and to act with real courage by leaning into difficult conversations with our co-workers, neighbors, family members, friends, and strangers.

Finally, we must act together, not alone, to tackle the challenges of systemic inequity in our society. Every person and every company — including my company, Fannie Mae — has a unique role to play and a unique contribution to make. As my friend and fellow Fannie Mae leader Jeff Hayward recently wrote, “We have work to do.”