Target diversity chief tells employees to accept DEI or ‘leave’

“Not everyone is going to believe or be bought into our strategies and our priorities on this topic. They just aren’t,” diversity chief Kiera Fernandez said.

Target storefront (Facebook/Target)

In a resurfaced video, Target’s diversity chief Kiera Fernandez shared that Target employees can get on board with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts or leave the company.

“Not everyone is going to believe or be bought into our strategies and our priorities on this topic. They just aren’t,” Fernandez said.

The video is a Twin Cities Business interview from June 2021 with Fernandez and two other DEI officers from 3M and Cargill, along with the vice president of Career and Professional Development at St. Catherine University. The video is titled “BIPOC Women Rise to Leadership.”

Following the controversy surrounding Target’s LGBT-themed clothing for children, Fernandez’s remarks gained attention on Twitter. She acknowledged that not everyone may fully embrace their strategies and priorities on this subject.

“And it also quite frankly puts a lot on the folks that don’t believe in this, but emphasizes that you still have to do it to be a part of this company,” Fernandez said. “And eventually you’ll see a change in their mindset, or they may leave and, you know, that’s a part of this process too. This isn’t for everyone.”

She goes on to say that whether employees agree with the policies or not, they will “lead inclusively” and “have representation” on their teams, and that they will be responsible for “behaviors, values, and expectations” regarding DEI principles.

Under Fernandez, Target is reportedly shifting to more black-owned suppliers and ending contracts with white-owned companies. In another interview, Fernandez said that her life is challenging because she is a woman and she is black.

“One of the hardest things to be in the world every day is black,” she said.

Another one of Target’s executives, Carlos Saavedra, vice president of brand marketing at Target, serves as a treasurer for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

GLSEN advocates for the implementation of inclusive policies in schools nationwide, promoting an environment where parents may not be immediately notified about their children’s gender identities while at school. Additionally, GLSEN encourages schools to consider including literature that addresses sexual topics within their library collections.

Target has lost over $12 billion over the last two weeks following boycotts against the company over their Pride products, especially those geared toward children and infants.

Target responded to the backlash by moving displays in some states to the back of the store and severing a relationship with a Satanist designer.


Hayley Feland

Hayley Feland previously worked as a journalist with The Minnesota Sun, The Wisconsin Daily Star, and The College Fix. She is a Minnesota native with a passion for politics and journalism.