Leadership

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg speaks out on the ‘bigotry and hatred’ of white supremacists

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
Photo by Antoine Antoniol
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is a powerful executive and thought leader. She's a force in Silicon Valley. She's also a single mom of two.

Despite her legendary leadership skills, Sandberg struggled to figure out how to talk to her children about the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., between white supremacists and counterprotesters.

She wrote about the moment in a vulnerable post on her Facebook page.

"Along with millions of others, I was so heartbroken this weekend," she says.

"Yesterday on our way to camp, my daughter and I were reading the book for our mother-daughter book club. Part of the story involved the granddaughter of a WWII veteran learning more about her grandfather's service during the war and meeting a Holocaust survivor whom he had helped," Sandberg writes.

"It was a beautiful story but discussing the horrors of the Holocaust with a child is never easy. How do you tell a 10-year-old that such extreme racism and inhumanity has taken place so recently? And how do you explain why atrocities are still committed against so many people all over the world?"

While talking to a child about racism is painful, she also says it is important.

"The events this weekend in our country make discussions like this with our children even more timely and crucial. Every generation has to be vigilant in fighting against the type of bigotry and hatred that was displayed by the white supremacists in Charlottesville."

During the protest, white supremacist James Alex Fields, Jr. drove his car into a group of counterprotesters killing a young woman, Heather Heyer.

"The brave Heather Heyer's mother Susan Bro said she wanted her daughter's 'death to be a rallying cry for justice and equality and fairness and compassion.' Let's honor her by teaching all of our children how to honor and respect those values," Sandberg says.

As Sandberg published her reaction to the violence of the weekend, other business leaders have been voicing disapproval for President Donald Trump's response.

Trump first condemned "many sides" for the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence" in Charlottesville. Two days later, after backlash at his middling, he specifically called out the "KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists."

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier all resigned from their position on Trump's American Manufacturing Council in protest.

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