Today, we join prominent businesses across the country in signing onto 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.
Data shows 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. Those insights are what led to the letter 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. That’s also why the Levi Strauss Foundation is supporting Chinese for Affirmative Action to launch a national website and hotline to address anti-Asian bullying and hate crimes related to the pandemic. The foundation is also contributing to Live Free’s Masks for the People humanitarian campaign to get protective equipment and testing kits in the hands of vulnerable black and brown communities across the nation.
“COVID-19 is not the ‘great equalizer,’ as some have called it,” Open to All Campaign Director Calla Rongerude said in today’s press release. “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.”
Our connection to Open to All dates back to its founding in 2018. In July of that year, we signed on the campaign as a founding company, adding “Open to All” stickers to our store windows as a visual signal letting everyone know we welcome your business regardless of your race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.
In this moment, Open to All isn’t just about shopping. It’s about making a commitment to work for a more equitable, empathetic and just society for everyone, which has been part of our message and operations from our earliest days. And we continue to support the communities where we live and work in various ways today, from supporting key organizations addressing the impacts of this virus to backing those who are speaking out against anti-Asian sentiment. As the Open to All letter states, “No matter what we look like, where we live, or what’s in our wallets, getting sick reminds us that at our core we’re all just human. This virus has shown us that we are dependent on each other and whether we’re Black or White, Latinx or Asian, it’s time to come together in support of each other.”