Whirlpool employees and community volunteers at work improving a Benton Harbor park.
Company commemorates Juneteenth and its Racial Equity Pledge
By Alan Wolf, YSN
Whirlpool demonstrated its commitments to racial equality and its headquarter’s community of Benton Harbor, Mich., this month by partnering with the local Neighbors Organizing Against Racism organization (NOAR) for a “Day of Impact.”
The one-day event brought out 120 volunteer Whirlpool workers and NOAR members who began work on planned improvements to the town’s Broadway Park.
The renovation commemorates Juneteenth and the manufacturer’s Racial Equity Pledge, and represents a continuation of a city park upgrade program that began in 2021. The summer-long Broadway Park upgrade includes the installation of a monument memorializing June Woods, a former slave who moved to Benton Harbor in 1870 and became a successful tree farmer and respected community leader.
“We’re pleased to be able to work hand-in-hand with Benton Harbor leaders to support the city’s master plan and collaborate with local organizations on this important initiative,” said Marc Bitzer, Whirlpool’s chairman/CEO. “It’s great to see many of our employees give their time today, especially for the positive benefits this park will provide for the youth and the residents in our local community.”
For Whirlpool volunteer Emily Kirchner, it was her second time participating in a Day of Impact service. “I’m just really appreciative that we see the significance and importance in providing employees the opportunity to give back,” she told local news station WNDU.
NOAR President/Founder Trenton Bowens said the company’s participation was a meaningful contribution in the effort to honor June Woods.
“Our organization welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Whirlpool and to share input in creating the vision, planning and working together to revitalize this park before we rededicate it as the June Woods Memorial Park in August,” he said. “We couldn’t think of a better way to honor his contributions to our community, tell his story and celebrate his legacy by dedicating a park to him.”