The events which have unfolded over the past weeks and that are happening as we type this are tragic and disheartening. They have brought to light many sad truths that aren’t new, that racial inequality is far from uncommon. So, what do we do about it? What can we do about it? What should we do about it?
As a brand, our voice can be louder than most. We have a global audience and with that audience comes the responsibility to not just speak, but do. By not speaking up as soon as the situation hit last week, some may wrongfully assume that we will not respond. “To make no statement is a statement” is a common argument, but we see it as more than that. To not act is to be complicit. It’s easy to talk, it’s much harder to do.
Here is what we have come up with so far, our path forward. It’s a start and far from perfect. We have a lot of work to do and so welcome your feedback and ideas.
1. The causes we support: We are so incredibly proud of our brand ambassadors and pro team. They are comprised of athletes, fishermen, workers, and others who are all incredibly skilled and intelligent. Many of our ambassadors and pro team members are passionate about introducing others to their worlds, teaching them about fishing, farming, food, nutrition and healthy living. They teach, they raise funds for not for profits, they speak and they serve as role models. As a brand we will be taking a more active role in supporting the social initiatives led by our ambassadors and pro team members by providing them with a platform to further broadcast their work, additional funding and resources to ensure they can continue, if not step up their efforts to help educate and inspire. We will also take action to ensure the racial composition of our pro team is more balanced. Today it is not, and we will make it a priority to ensure black ambassadors and pros are on the team.
2. Our brand imagery: For the past three years we haven’t used models in our brand photoshoots, we photograph real users of the gear we sell. That said, we are already taking steps to ensure we are featuring all users of our gear in our imagery as we know those of all races wear/use XTRATUF®.
3. Our team/employees: One practice we have had for several years now and continue to require every time we post for a new position, is we consider and interview a diverse pool of candidates to ensure we are honoring our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our workforce.
Again, this is a start and we have a lot more we will be doing. For now, we promise that XTRATUF® will help lead by example in this journey of positive social change.