Walmart leadership denounces ‘senseless’ George Floyd killing, embraces ‘more just and fair country’

Walmart (WMT) kicked off its 50th annual meeting of shareholders by addressing the killing of George Floyd that has sparked global outrage, with its leaders denouncing systemic racism and police brutality.

Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, lit the spark of mass protests across the U.S. With other major brands embracing the moment, Walmart used its annual confab to address the controversy directly.

Walmart, which now employs 2.35 million people worldwide, usually puts on a week-long, star-studded celebration that convenes thousands of company associates in the retailer’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas. However, this year’s meeting, held virtually due to the pandemic, lasted only one hour.

In the opening remarks, chairman of the board Greg Penner immediately called the death of Floyd “senseless,” insisting that Walmart has a “role to play in helping create a more just and

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US coronavirus response “lacks leadership at the federal level”

Philanthropist Melinda Gates on Thursday sharply criticized the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak, telling Yahoo Finance that the country is “lacking leadership at the federal level” and as a result has endured unnecessary deaths and economic pain.

“It’s highly distressing and disappointing,” says Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which she said has donated $300 million to organizations involved in the coronavirus response.

“To have 50 state-grown solutions is inefficient, it makes no sense, and it’s costing people their lives,” she adds.

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday “there’ll be more death” as states lift stay-at-home measures but has urged a path toward reopening the economy in order to blunt job loss and other damaging effects caused by the mandates.

[See also: Melinda Gates: Coronavirus exposing ‘broken caregiving’ system in US]

The Trump administration has drawn criticism for what some consider a failure to

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