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Companies respond to U.S.-wide protests against racism and injustice

Published
Jun 2, 2020
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As protests in response to injustice against African Americans - and the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd - continue in cities throughout the United States, many companies have issued public responses addressing the nation's unrest. 


Instagram @nordstrom


Nordstrom



Nordstrom posted a lengthly statement from president and chief brand officer Pete Nordstrom and CEO Erik Nordstrom, addressing the need for action to create change.

"Like so many of you, we have been deeply saddened and angered by recent events in our country," the statement read.

"The senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others reflect the deeply ingrained racial prejudice and injustice that still exists in our communities today.

"The unnecessary and unjust killing of anyone must not be accepted. The issue of race and the experiences of too many people of color cannot be ignored. We owe it to our employees, our customers and our communities to be very clear in condemning these acts of violence. They represent a disregard for basic human rights that has no place in our communities or country, and certainly not at Nordstrom.

"As a company, we know we have the opportunity to make things better, which is why over the past several years we've amplified our efforts when it comes to diversity, inclusion and belonging at Nordstrom. It begins not only by speaking out, but by listening."

On Sunday, Nordstrom temporarily closed all of its stores after select locations, including stores in Los Angeles and Seattle, were vandalized and looted during protests. 

Nike



Nike made its own statement by putting a spin on its 'Just Do It' slogan, urging fans of the athleticwear giant to "for once, don't do it" in a video posted to its social media channels. 

"Don't pretend there's not a problem in America," the statement read. "Don't turn your back on racism. Don't accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don't make any more excuses. Don't think this doesn't affect you. Don't sit back and be silent. Don't think you can't be part of the change. Let's all be part of the change."

Adidas



Setting aside rivalries, Adidas retweeted Nike's statement on Twitter. In addition, the company shared its own statement, writing, "Together is how we move forward. Together we have the power to make change. Together we must fight what is wrong and try to make it right."

Target



The day after announcing the temporary closure of select Target stores throughout the Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota area, Target released a statement from CEO Brian Cornell addressed to "our teams and communities in the Twin Cities and beyond."

"As a Target team, we’ve huddled, we’ve consoled, we’ve witnessed horrific scenes similar to what’s playing out now and wept that not enough is changing. And as a team we’ve vowed to face pain with purpose. Our store and HR teams are working with all of our displaced team members, including the more than 200 team members from our Lake Street store in Minneapolis. We will make sure they have their full pay and benefits in the coming weeks, as well as access to other resources and opportunities within Target.

"In any of our other locations that are damaged or at risk, the safety and well-being of our team, guests and the surrounding community will continue to be our paramount priority."

Target has since extended temporary store closures, as well as reduced hours to more than 200 stores, including locations in California, Georgia and Philadelphia, among other states, following the vandalization of several Target stores. 

Amazon

 

In a statement, the e-commerce giant publicly condemned what it called "the inequitable and brutal treatment of black people in our country." 

"Together we stand in solidarity with the black community--our employees, customers, and partners--in the fight against systemic racism and injustice." 

Like statements from many other companies, Amazon's statement calling out injustice received swift backlash from some, who pointed out the company's recent history of reportedly mistreating warehouse employees.

Virgil Abloh 



Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton men’s artistic director and Off-White designer, sparked animosity across social media for his response to the protests. 

In a since-deleted Instagram post, Abloh shared a video of the vandalized and looted Los Angeles store location of Round Two, the streetwear reseller founded by Sean Wotherspoon.

In the post, Abloh slammed the looters, writing, "this disgusts me. To the kids that ransacked [Wotherspoon's] store and RSVP DTLA, and all our stores in our scene just know, that product staring at you in your home/apartment right now is tainted and a reminder of a person I hope you aren't." 

Abloh further posted to his Instagram story, citing the vandalism as a reason why he said "'streetwear' is dead."

Critics said the statement made it appear as though Abloh cares more for products than for the lost lives and injustices that inspired the protests. 

Abloh sparked even more disapproval after he shared a screenshot of his donation made to a Miami bail fund, totaling at $50. Many saw the value as egregiously low, with some pointing out that none of the designs made by Abloh can be bought for $50.  

Marc Jacobs



On Twitter, some users shamed Abloh by comparing his response to the protests and resulting destruction with designer Marc Jacobs' public statement. On his personal Instagram account, Jacobs shared a text post shared from the political organization SURJ NYC, paired with the caption, "#BLACKLIVESMATTER."

"Never let them convince you that broken glass or property is violence," the post read. 

"Property can be replaced, human lives cannot." 

In addition to Nordstrom and Target, retailers and brands including Walmart, Nike and Adidas have temporarily shuttered their stores amid protests. 

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