Here at Levi Strauss & Co., our leaders and partners continue to stay active in our commitment to make our communities safer amid the unrelenting gun violence epidemic in the United States.
Just this week, CEO Chip Bergh participated in the Levers of Change: Gun Violence Prevention and Solutions panel at the Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles, alongside Priscilla Sims Brown, president and CEO of Amalgamated Bank; John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety; and Mia Tretta, a high school senior from Saugus, California, who was wounded during a mass shooting at her high school in 2019.
Moderator Rich Ditizio, CEO of the Milken Institute, guided the panelists through an urgent and often deeply moving conversation focused on what businesses can do, the role of advocacy and the survivor’s voice, and the policy changes needed to address what is now, shockingly, the leading cause of death among children in this country. Chip spoke to LS&Co.’s involvement in gun violence prevention advocacy and the progress we’ve seen in terms of other business leaders getting involved, best typified by the 550 CEOs — including co-panelist Priscilla Sims Brown — who signed on to a CEO Letter to the Senate we helped drive ahead of the passage of the Safer Communities Act in June 2022.
The panel was followed by a smaller working group session the next morning, designed to further discuss and explore possible solutions around gun violence prevention. The session included Pastor Mike McBride, longtime LS&Co. partner and director of LIVE FREE, a grantee of LS&Co.’s Safer Tomorrow Fund.
The conversation came on the heels of the launch of a joint effort between LS&Co. and another iconic Bay Area institution, the San Francisco Giants, in late April. On select “Orange Fridays” throughout the upcoming baseball season, the Giants will honor four Bay Area nonprofits focused on gun violence prevention: LIVE FREE, Moms Demand Action, United Playaz and Youth ALIVE! In conjunction, the Giants will air a PSA featuring Chip and Giants manager Gabe Kapler, and LS&Co. will donate $25,000 to each group, for a total of $100,000 — all part of our commitment to groups working on the frontlines to educate youth about critical life skills, implement proven methodologies and drive critical advocacy work at the community level.
LS&Co. is proud to see many other partners recognized recently for their work around gun violence prevention. Lemonada Media, a Safer Tomorrow Fund grantee, won a Webby Award — deemed “the internet’s highest honor” by the New York Times — for Best Documentary Podcast for the recent season of their “Last Day” podcast, centered entirely around gun violence.
Another grantee, the Community Justice Action Fund (CJAF), showed up in a big way at Huncho Day, the fifth annual charity football game hosted by Quavo of the hip-hop group Migos. This year’s event was designed to raise money for The Rocket Foundation, which Quavo founded in the aftermath of the gun killing of his nephew and fellow Migos member, Kirsnick “Takeoff” Khari Ball, last November. CJAF was designated as one of the foundation’s first grantees in recognition of their work around the country. CJAF also used the event to introduce its 365 Project, which is designed to engage millennials and Generation Z through a digital campaign on TikTok, Instagram and other social media platforms to educate and advocate for ending gun violence.
Our own work also continues to garner attention. Earlier this week, Fast Company announced its 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards list, honoring sustainable designs, innovative products, bold social initiatives and other creative projects that are changing the way we work, live and interact with the world. LS&Co. received an honorable mention in the Politics & Policy category for our leadership on gun violence prevention.
It was a gratifying recognition, but there is much work yet to be done. Alongside our advocacy partners, our grantees and other business leaders who are willing to participate in the effort, we will remain unwavering in our efforts — because by working together, we can end gun violence.