Christine Barney|Jun 1, 2020

Today our leadership sent an email to the entire rbb team. For the sake of transparency and solidarity, we have decided to share the exact communication externally with our community. It’s included in its original format below.


There are times when the world seems to conspire to deliver the worst of circumstances.

Just as the country is finding a path forward from the uncertainty of the pandemic, which had a disproportionate impact on people of color, we are confronted – again – with several racist encounters, including the tragic death of George Floyd. Floyd has sparked a flame nationwide to derail racism in America and we cannot just stand by as the news cycle unfolds. So, I’m going to ask you to do three things:

First, see what actually happened. We often form opinions without firsthand knowledge. Watch this summary of videos to see it for yourself. It won’t be easy. It elicits powerful emotions from anger and sorrow to hopelessness and fear.

Second, engage. I am a white woman who can never truly step outside the privilege I’ve been born into. While I can try to empathize – I must use my privilege to act and each member of rbb’s leadership team agrees. Diversity and equality are imbedded in rbb’s culture and a fundamental expectation of each us. We must stand up for those who have been marginalized, oppressed and denied. That’s why rbb will:

  • Make a firm donation to Campaign Zero, a police reform group that has been working on policy solutions “informed by data and human rights principles.”
  • Sign the “Justice for George Floyd” petition on, which already has 8.5 million supporters.
  • Share our thoughts on our social channels and post this letter on our blog.
  • Support your desires to protest safely and responsibly.

Lastly, I’m going to ask you all to do something very difficult. I want you to remain optimistic. Let me be clear. This is not to say we put on rose-colored glasses and ignore the critical and difficult issues we are facing. Optimism in a time like this is crucial. It allows us to find the possible amidst the horrible. It allows us to practice compassion and provides acknowledgement that we can handle fear, even as we feel frightened. It offers the capacity for us to support each other, our clients, our friends and our families. Most importantly, optimism gives us permission to hope. And hope allows us to believe we can make a difference. At this moment, the difference we can each make is needed more than ever.

Let’s focus on that.

P.S. Although this letter can come from only one email, your executive leadership team, Lisa Ross and Tina Elmowitz and the entire roster of partners leave their names here in support:

Christine Barney

Lisa Ross

Tina Elmowitz

Lauren Bernat

Sandra Ericson

Laura Guitar

Jeanine Karp

Lisette Loughner

Josh Merkin

Rashid Saker

Maite Velez-Couto

Shawn Warmstein


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