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McDonald’s boss Chris Kempczinski deserves sympathy: Chicago businessman Willie Wilson

Re: “What are McDonald’s plans when the CEO is scrutinized?” (Nov 3rd) I would like to encourage the community to take the time to learn more before they reach any conclusion.

I come from humble beginnings with a seventh grade education. I came to this town and became a successful franchisee on the West Side through the McDonald’s system, eventually owning my own medical care business. I fundamentally understand the challenges and successes our communities have gone through and must continue to see in the fight against crime and years of systemic oppression and inequality. After hearing about the text messages that McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski sent to Mayor Lori Lightfoot last April after a terrible shootout that killed two Chicago teenagers, I wanted to know more before drawing any conclusions about Chris’s character. I have contacted him personally and after hearing from him I know firsthand that he is really sorry for his words and for his lack of understanding regarding these two tragedies in the community. He knows the seriousness of his texts on the families concerned and the wider community and takes the necessary steps to fix this.

Like any business, McDonald’s has room for improvement in deepening its connection with the black community. Chris is a determined to make a difference and has a track record. He has helped make McDonald’s more inclusive at all three levels and at all levels of the company. I saw it myself at a Chicago Black Business Community Celebration event that Chris hosted at his company’s headquarters last month. He is a father, a pious man, and a principled leader. Undoubtedly, this experience drives him to build a deeper connection with our community that will enable him to continue on his journey to understand others and make McDonald’s even more inclusive. If we work together and show understanding, grace, and support for Chris, we can all learn from this moment and make an impact that can be felt in Chicago, America, and around the world.

Ephesians 4:32 says: “Be kind and merciful to one another and forgive one another, as God forgave you in Christ.” Chicago, I tell you, let’s get together and sort this out.

This man wants to learn, wants to understand and be present in the community. I am determined to work with Chris on his ongoing work for both the community and the company I really love – one that has given me the economic opportunity to serve so many people in Chicago and across the country.

I am proud of my McDonald’s roots and want to share my compassion and understanding right now and at this time. Chicago, I hope you will agree with me when I say we should all move forward and work together to achieve win-win results for everyone.


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