As a company, as a brand, and as human beings, we want to take action and do everything we can to stand against discrimination, systemic racism, bigotry, and social inequality against the Black community. We feel it’s important for all companies to not just make a social media statement, but to take action. We aim to create meaningful change by continually improving our company and involving ourselves in organizations while serving our surrounding communities.
We are committed to creating positive, actionable change--detailed below.
Initiatives and Commitments:
● Continuing to implement more diversity in our campaigns by collaborating with BIPOC including but not limited to models, photographers, designers, and creatives.
● Working with different organizations to improve job access to the Black community; giving BIPOC more visibility to learn about and access job opportunities at our company on all levels.
● Working with different organizations to create more visibility for BIPOC to learn about and access internship programs at our company for those interested in the fashion industry.
Donation Partners & Community Outreach
For the past four years, we have worked with Justin Mayo and his organization Red Eye. Red Eye takes action through the Watts Empowerment Center, a community center in the South LA neighborhood, Watts. Last week we delivered and helped distribute 10,000 masks for them to provide for the community.
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
We will continue our partnership with United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Previously partnering with them on a mask donation program, we are now expanding our partnership with their Economic Mobility Team to improve the BIPOC community’s access to job opportunities within our company.
Operation School Bell
Our company has a long relationship with Operation School Bell, a non-profit meeting the needs of kids in the LA Unified School District. This organization helps give underprivileged school children access to clothing and essential school supplies. We support them through donations, both monetary and clothing, as well as volunteering.
Monetary and PPE Donations
At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, our company had the opportunity to quickly shift our production to making masks in bulk, along with our regular apparel. We wanted to use our resources to help the Community of South LA; as predominately-Black communities have been disproportionately affected during this time.
We will continue to donate to different organizations during this time, but wanted to highlight the organizations we’ve partnered with and distributed face masks to (15,000 masks in total) over the past couple of weeks. These community centers and non-profits in South LA are making an impact and changing the lives of those in need.
The World Stage
The World Stage is an art, education, and performance gallery in Watts. This unique community center focuses on art and music education for the youth.
Summaeverythang is an organization and community center providing free organic produce to Watts and the South Central Los Angeles area. They are dedicated to “the empowerment and transcendence of black and brown folks socio-politically and economically, intellectually, and artistically.”
Red Eye is a mentorship program and outreach organization working out of the Watts Empowerment Center. Their mission is to support children and families in need within the communities of Watts and South LA.
We’ve made donations to The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund as well as the Equal Justice Initiative, and will continue to support them. These are two great organizations that have a long history of fighting for civil rights and equality. We will continue and expand our donation partnerships, and discuss internally how to best be involved and support organizations dismantling systemic racism and fighting for justice.
Internal Company Education
● We have given each member of our team access to multiple audiobook accounts for the purpose of education on the Black Lives Matter Movement and anti-racism.
● We have given each member of our team time off, encouraging them to research, contribute to, and participate in the movement however they can.
In sharing our company initiatives, as well as highlighting some of the amazing organizations we partner with, it not only holds us accountable but will encourage other businesses to take similar actions for change. The fight against racism is far from over, and we still have a long way to go, but we are committed to listening, learning, and improving--forever. Black Lives Matter.
The Select Start Team