Last week, George Floyd was murdered. Our hearts were heavy for this loss of innocent life, and each of us processed this tragedy independently. It took until late Friday for someone to broach the subject at a staff meeting. Regrettably and with great consequence, our executive team was unprepared. The setup was wrong, the timing was wrong, and our response was wrong — but if not for all these wrongs, we may have just remained the same company.
As a collective of brands, sometimes it’s easier to choose silence. We’re too afraid to say the wrong thing, to not say or do enough, to appear as profiteers. Instead of being swift with conversations to address the pain of our staff and community, or engaging in the conversation surrounding ongoing injustices in our society, we have stayed quiet. Living in our own bubbles with false confidence that the world would change on its own, we have taken much too long to speak up about past and present atrocities against the black community. We are truly sorry.
Over this past weekend, the executive team of XII Brands slowly began to grasp the reality that our silence has made us complicit. This shook us. We’ve always viewed ourselves as a socially conscious company, yet we’ve failed to speak out about racism, one of the most serious injustices facing our society — one that some of our staff members grapple with daily.
To you that we have failed: Your pain is valid, your life is equally valued, your experience is important. Black lives matter, and they matter to us. You matter to us. We are sorry that we did not speak up for you and for equality sooner.
We owe it to our team and our community to be better, to be active in the fight against racism. We will continue to listen, reflect, and educate ourselves. We pledge to promote causes and movements that support equality for all. We will not dismiss issues as ones beyond our scope. And we commit to building a positive, safe, and inclusive environment for everyone. Above all, we vow that we will never need to write a statement like this again.
We, the owners of XII Brands, are looking inward and asking for our staff’s help to evolve policies and develop new core brand values to reinforce this commitment. We are also developing new initiatives to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
- We are spending this week engaging with our team internally to discuss race and the prevalence of bias and inert racism in our lives. Online resources will be made available to learn more.
- We are reaching out to our partners to discuss collaborative fundraising ideas to support anti-racism efforts.
- As business members of a predominantly black neighborhood, we commit to a deeper involvement in our community through efforts such as cleanups, civic engagement, volunteering, and individual support and charity.
- We look to readdress our hiring and employee review practices to ensure that all steps are being taken to include and advance candidates of color.
- We will implement new training, development, and education of both ourselves and our staff surrounding issues of racism and overall equality.
- Meetings and action items for corporate activism and responsibility will be regularly scheduled and activated.
Simply claiming that we’re not racist isn’t enough— we must be actively anti-racist as individuals and as a company. We will stand together in the fight against injustice and inequality. We hope you’ll join us.
Todd, Dan, and Dan
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
What does it mean to be antiracist? by Annelise Singh
Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor