[Social Justice]

These Companies Are Taking A Stand Against Racism—And You Can Too

By: Shani Saxon

Major corporations haven’t exactly been at the forefront of confronting racism in the workplace, or in the world for that matter. But that’s beginning to change. Some are implementing internal education programs, contributing financially to race-equity organizations, or fostering more diverse workplaces through hiring.  

Below are four inspiring examples of companies taking a stand in a host of ways—which might just inspire white people, in particular, to take one, too.

Ben and Jerry’s Takes a Social Justice Stand

The people behind this beloved ice cream company recognize that life isn’t always sweet, which is why it’s part of their mission to fight for social justice, including LGBTQ rights and climate justice. The company also believes the fight for racial equity is urgent—“We see issues of systemic racism and implicit bias as the defining social justice issue at this time in our country,” they say in their mission statement. Their partners in this initiative include organizations like The Poor People’s Campaign, Color of Change and Dream Corps, among others.

What can we do? Buying pints of Pecan Resist might inspire you to join a Color of Change campaign, attend a rally with the Poor People’s Campaign, or, if you’re in the tech space, support Dream Corps’s #YesWeCode program.

Proctor and Gamble (P&G) Raises a Conversation About Racism

Better known for brands like Tide and Pantene, P&G fought racism with their award-winning ad, “The Talk.” The commercial, which was part of P&G’s broader My Black Is Beautiful campaign, featured Black parents from different eras having difficult conversations with their children about racism and how to cope.

“There are some people who think you don’t deserve the same privileges just because of what you look like,” one parent says. “It’s not fair.” The company’s chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, says he wanted the ad to “lead to greater understanding, common ground, and positive change.”

What can we do? The ad raised an important point for everyone: conversations are essential to upending racism.  If you have children, it’s important to proactively talk to them about racism and what it means . Books can serve as conversation starters. Try All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold for younger children or Who Was Rosa Parks for older kids.

SAP Venture Fund Supports Diverse Businesses

The software giant claims it is the only business software company to “target a share of its venture investments directly to women and underrepresented communities.” SAP chief strategy officer Deepak Krishnamurthy says one of the company’s initiatives, SAP.iO No Boundaries, will commit 40 percent of its funds to the advancement of women and people of color. “Roughly 87 percent of venture funding goes to white male entrepreneurs in the U.S., depending on what statistics you use,” he says. “There has been an unconscious bias of sexism, racism, and bro-ism.”

What can we do? Support businesses owned by Black people and people of color. Putting your dollars into their entrepreneurship will encourage others to start their own ventures and diversify the business landscape.

Nike Takes a Knee

The billion-dollar corporation showed support for football player Colin Kaepernick when they tapped him to be the face of their campaign, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the company’s iconic “Just Do It” slogan. Kap divided the country when he protested social injustice in the United States by kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games, but Nike wasn’t afraid to pick a side. “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, as he leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward, said Nike executive Gino Fisanotti.

What can we do? In Nike’s ad, Kap encourages people to “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Use your social platforms, your voice and your dollars to support a social or racial justice organization that fights for something you support.

Photo: Ben & Jerry's