LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix announced it is donating $1 million to support civil rights.

The large donation will go to National Urban League affiliates across the Southeast. The organization, which advocates on behalf of economic and social justice for African Americans, has seven affiliates in Florida.

“The last few months have brought unprecedented challenges to our company and our country. Throughout this time, I’ve been proud of Publix associates, working in our stores, facilities and behind the scenes to do what we have historically done so well — care for each other and our communities. Today, it’s evident that our support and compassion are required on an even deeper level,” CEO Todd Jones said in a letter posted on Publix’s website.

“Like you, I’m saddened and unsettled by any racial injustice or events that divide our country. There are many emotions we are feeling — fear, anger, anxiety and impatience. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to listen with open hearts and to lead with empathy — toward each other, toward our customers and toward our communities. At Publix, we reject racism and discrimination of any kind,” the letter continued.

The move comes following the death of George Floyd, who died last month after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. In the weeks since his death, protesters across the country, and in Florida have filled the streets to rally against police violence.

“With over 220,000 associates, we benefit from being an inclusive company made up of individuals who look and think differently, with backgrounds from around the country and around the world. Embracing our diversity has driven us toward progress, innovation and excellence for almost a century. This diversity fuels my hope for the future, and all that we will accomplish by coming together as One Publix with One Purpose to care for each other with dignity and respect,” Jones concluded.

It’s been a busy few months for the supermarket chain, which rolled out a number of initiatives in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company announced last month that it would purchase fresh produce and milk to help farmers who have been hurt by the pandemic, and donate those products to Feeding America.

So far, more than 1 million pounds of food and 100,000 gallons of milk to have been donated to food banks.

Publix has also donated $2 million to food banks in Feeding America’s network.

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