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Detroit — General Motors Co. will observe 8 minutes, 46 seconds of silence in its facilities across the world this Friday, which is Juneteenth, an observance that marks the end of slavery. 

The period of time is how long a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on the neck of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, who died. Mark Reuss, president of GM, sent an internal memo Tuesday asking the GM workforce to observe the silence "as a sign of solidarity with the Black community and our support of the struggle against continuing racial injustice."

At GM's plants in North America, first shifts will pause Friday at 8:46 a.m. and the second shift at 8:46 p.m. Third-shift timing will be determined by the leadership at plants. Offices and other facilities will also pause during the day.

"The United States, along with the rest of the world, needs to change, and we want to do everything we can to help make that happen, from donating our money and time to aiming to be the world's most inclusive company to reminding all our employees of our goals and values every day," Reuss wrote. "Friday's event is one way to do just that."

Reuss' note to employees comes after GM CEO and Chairman Mary Barra wrote to employees, dealers and suppliers that GM would commit to being inclusive, condemn intolerance and stand up against injustice. GM has since formed and Inclusion Advisory Board and pledged to donate $10 million to support organizations that promote inclusion and racial justice, with an initial $1 million going to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

khall@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @bykaleahall

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