As we take the day to honor the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and give back to our communities, Elizabeth A. Morrison, our Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, reflects on the holiday as a moment for us to “lean into the fight for a more equitable and just world.” The following excerpt was originally published by her on LinkedIn.
While we’ve made some progress in the years since the death of Dr. King, it’s not nearly enough. In fact, there are days that I wonder if we will ever reach that mountain top Dr. King spoke of – if Black and Brown people will ever unilaterally be given the justice, recognition, fairness, and safety that we all deserve as described in Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is what keeps me up at night and why I wake up every morning with fire in my belly.
Purpose will keep me fighting
While 2020 was a global tipping point, the truth is if you are Black or Brown in America, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery weren’t shocking. They were disgusting, disheartening and devastating – but surprising, absolutely not. What was surprising was the reckoning that followed. The recognition that we are broken and the call and answer to action that followed.
It was that call that led me to my role at Levi Strauss & Co. I knew immediately that my days of working at organizations that did not truly understand and invest in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) were over. That I needed to seek an organization that was willing to see and address our brokenness – that would empower me to practice DE&I and bring it to life as the strategic differentiator it could be for our employees, our culture and our business. This is the home I have found at Levi’s.
It’s an honor to join this legacy brand and leverage what was already a values-driven culture to create a safe and inclusive environment for our employees and lead us in our commitment to reflect our global consumers.