25 Leading Businesses Urge Action to Address Racial Disparities Exacerbated by the COVID-19 Global Pandemic
Leaders including fashion giants Gap Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Open to All® call on corporations and businesses to combat racial disparities and fight anti-Asian racism
OAKLAND, CA, MAY 7, 2020—Twenty-five businesses from companies across the country have committed to addressing racial disparities by signing on to a letter from Open to All® urging the business community to examine and work to combat the disparities and discrimination that have caused the COVID-19 global crisis to disproportionately impact Black, Latinx/Hispanic, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. The letter is in response to data that show COVID-19 is resulting in a sharp rise of anti-Asian racism and is killing far greater numbers of Black, Latinx/Hispanic people, as well as Pacific Islanders.
Led by Open to All®—the national nondiscrimination campaign that believes everyone should be welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, religion, or disability—the letter encourages all businesses and corporations who sign to work to combat racial disparities and denounce anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander racism in their communities.
“COVID-19 is not the ‘great equalizer,’ as some have called it,” said Open to All® Campaign Director Calla Rongerude. “Rather, it is a profound reminder of how inequalities continue to permeate all areas of life. While the pandemic’s impact has reached far and wide, communities of color have been hit with the greatest ferocity. There are many factors at play, but some of the most significant are inequities in employment, pay, and access to healthcare—areas in which the business community can make a real difference. While many of these companies are themselves reeling from the crisis, they recognize the need to come together, now more than ever, to address the racial inequities that have been laid bare by COVID-19, and we thank them for their leadership.”
The letter was signed by AEO Inc., which includes brands American Eagle and Aerie; Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream; Capri Holdings Limited, which includes brands Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, and Versace; Gap Inc., which includes brands Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap, Hill City, Intermix, and Old Navy; H&M; Lacoste; Levi Strauss & Co.; Movado Group, Inc.; Ralph Lauren; Steve Madden; and Tapestry, Inc., which includes brands Coach, kate spade new york, and Stuart Weitzman.
While businesses have different capacities to weather this storm and are facing difficult decisions in the coming months, these leaders are taking necessary action in both the immediate and long terms to protect their workers, customers, and communities. Open to All® is encouraging consumers to support businesses large and small that are doing the right thing like following best-practice safety protocols as well as those that are offering services like delivery or online ordering. In partnership with Yelp, consumers can search for Open to All® businesses on Yelp.com. This allows customers to find businesses that have pledged to be a safe and welcoming place to everyone.
Open to All® has also launched a new resource page to support employees, protect the health and wellbeing of customers and communities, sustain businesses large and small, and combat racial disparities and anti-Asian and Pacific Islander racism. Click here for the Open to All® COVID-19 Resource page.
“No matter what we look like, where we live, or our socioeconomic status, this global pandemic reminds us that at our core we’re all just human. This virus has shown us that we are dependent on one another, and whether we’re Black or White, Latinx or Asian, working behind the scenes or on the front lines, it’s time to come together in support of each other,” said Rongerude.
About Open to All®
Open to All® is one of the most significant public education efforts to date that unites and galvanizes national leaders in business, civic engagement, and the nonprofit sector to take a stand for shared American values of fairness and equality. In addition to the thousands of business members, Open to All® includes more than 200 nonprofit members spanning civil rights and racial justice organizations; LGBT equality organizations; health and disability organizations; faith organizations; and more. Open to All® members are committed to building awareness and understanding about the importance of nondiscrimination—and to defend the bedrock principle that when businesses open their doors to the public, they should be Open to All®.
Businesses that wish to join Open to All® can learn more and sign the pledge at http://www.opentoall.com/business-members/#business-pledge.
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Open to All on Yelp
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