Black Lives Matter: BRANDS VOICING THEIR ALIGNMENT WITH THE CAUSE

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By Onuwa Lucky Joseph

Last week, we dwelt on Black Lives Matter and how organisations are supporting the movement with their time and moneys. This week, we hear from some of the organisations themselves, their feelings with regards to the Matter, and why seating on the fence is not an option. Black Lives Matter actually is a metaphor for discrimination of any sort. When people are picked on based on perceived differences and oppressed and even killed, decent humanity cannot but voice its dissent and insist for a level playing field for all.

More needs to be done, clearly, but it’s a good start. Companies awakened to their social responsibility are a good thing for the world and a strong force for good.  

Square Enix (Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company)

“Everyone at Square Enix’s offices and studios across the globe stands with our Black community in the fight against racism, prejudice and hate.

Police Officer Derek Chauvin, with his knee on George Floyd’s neck

We are pledging $250,000 and will match employee donations to support the Black Lives Matter organization and other charities, in the effort to help combat racial injustice and positively affect change in the world”.

Ubisoft Entertainment SA (French video game company headquartered in Montreuil with several development studios across the world)

“We stand in solidarity with Black team members, players, and the Black community. We are making a $100,000 contribution to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter and encourage those who are able to, to donate. 

“The killing of George Floyd and the systemic racism faced by the Black Community is deeply disturbing and painful. We believe in liberty and equality, and stand in solidarity with Black team members.

“Discrimination, exclusion and prejudice are things we should all work to change.”

Etsy (American e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies)

“We stand against a criminal justice system that disproportionately targets Black Americans.

“We stand against the widespread disenfranchisement of Black and Brown communities whose voices are silenced at the polls.

“To support organisations working tirelessly for criminal justice reform and those that assist Black-led institutions, we’re donating $500,000 to Equal Justice Initiative and $500,000 to Borealis Philanthropy’s Black-led Movement Fund. We encourage our community to join us in fighting for organizations that are leading the fight for change.”

H&M (Hennes & Mauritz AB is a Swedish multinational clothing-retail company known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children)

“We believe in equal rights for everyone. We stand with and support the Black community – today and every day.

“We understand that this goes far beyond a social media post. We’ve learned the hard way how much work we still must do to live by the values we believe in. We’re committed to using our voice and influence to do our part and stand up against racism and discrimination.

“Today, H&M group will donate 500,000 USD to @naacp, @colorofchange and @aclu_nationwide. We support these organisations in their efforts for justice, economic rights and democratic empowerment.

Let’s change. Together.

Everlane (American clothing retailer that sells primarily online)

“Black Lives Matter. And so do our actions. ⠀

“Today we’re donating $75K to @eji_org and $75K to @aclu_nationwide, the latter of which will continue to receive support through our 100% Human initiative. Our team has also built out a simple document with resources on how we can all take action.

“Protesting, posting resources, calling representatives, donating, sharing, and listening—all are important ways to show up for this historic moment. We’re giving our team the space to participate in any way they choose. Every action counts, and come November, we know what will count the most.⠀

“Today we demand change. Tomorrow we vote.”

Toms Shoes (Designs and markets shoes — as well as eyewear, coffee, apparel and handbags)

“#GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor, #AhmaudArbery, #TonyMcDade and countless others. We will not forget them, and we know that we need to be part of the change. Over the next three months, we are donating $100,000 to organizations that are working to combat racial injustice, starting with a donation to Black Lives Matter (@blklivesmatter). We will also continue to listen, learn, and act. Join us.”

Spanx (American underwear maker focusing on shaping briefs and leggings)

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu​

“At Spanx, we always aim to be a source of bright light and positivity in this world. Today, we cannot ignore the injustices and darkness of our outside world. We are overwhelmed with sadness, frustration, heartbreak and anger over recent events. We want you to know that though you see us as a brand, we are made up of real people who care deeply about the justice and equality of everyone. We share your outrage and sorrow over the injustices that led to the tragic loss of the life of George Floyd, along with Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many more. It’s time to not only stand up for what’s right and speak out against racism, but to take action. We know that it’s in all of our hands to create a better world.

Today, we’re using our social platforms to reiterate that we are committed to being a better ally to fight systemic racism. We will actively practice anti-racism through awareness and education, self-introspection and action. We are calling leaders, we are signing petitions, we are spreading ways to take action – but there is so much more that can still be done.

“We are donating $100,000 across national organizations focused on combating racial injustice: Black Lives Matter, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and The Minnesota Freedom Fund. In addition, we are committed to donating an additional $100,000 to organizations in our own home of Atlanta. To be an ally is to speak out against injustice and to be ears to listen to the POC experience. To be an ally to us means having a heart for empathy for the oppressed and a hand to make change.

“The time for silence is over. It’s time to learn, to grow, to change.​”

#BlackLivesMatter #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd #AntiRacism

LEVIS (American clothing company known worldwide for its Levi’s brand of denim jeans)

“Levi Strauss & Co. is in mourning. We mourn how the Black community has suffered a disproportionate number of deaths related to Covid-19. And we mourn the heartbreakingly perpetual violence against Black Americans simply for being Black. It is time for us to be seen and heard.

“The events of the past week have shined a spotlight on the systemic racism and injustices directed at the Black community throughout our nation’s history. In response to the heightened moment of tension playing out in cities across the U.S., LS&Co. is making a $100,000 donation to our longstanding partner, @aclu_nationwide.  In addition, the Levi Strauss Foundation is making a $100,000 grant to @livefreeusa, an organization on the front lines of social-justice issues. The organization is led by Pastor Mike McBride, who is part of our foundation’s Pioneers in Justice initiative, which supports next-generation civil rights activists. The foundation has invested $7.3 million in this initiative over the past 10 years.”

GAP INC.

“A Time For Action

“For 50 years, we’ve committed to standing with our employees, customers, and communities to be a force for good. With our brands, we have made a $250,000 donation to @naacp and @embracerace to fight against racial injustice. Our hope is that together we can make the next 50 years brighter and more inclusive for all.”

Warby Parker

“To our Black community members, employees, customers, colleagues, and friends: We see you, stand with you, and are pledging $1 million to organizations and initiatives focused on combating systemic racism.”

(Substantial materials adapted from CNET)

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