A Message From Our CEO

To our Friends, Family and Communities,

We stand in solidarity with all victims of racismagainst inequalityoppose all forms of discrimination, and condemn all acts of racial injustice.

Like all of you, I was sickened by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. That, sadly, is not an isolated incident. As a person who has suffered personally from racism and its pain, I know firsthand that these terrible actions are frequent within our country and communities.

Throughout history, within our lifetime and before, great leaders have always provided leadership and inspiration during tough times, and today is such. Instances of unrest and tragedy were transformed into an opportunity for progress and for more unity in our country by such leaders. I hope that all of us at BlackStrap, reflect on what is happening in our country today, and make it an opportunity to grow and progress as individuals, and as a society. I pray that our country will come out of this healthier, more bonded together and more resolute against racism, and stand shoulder to shoulder for equality, opportunity, and justice for all. It is a prospect for us to make a difference in advancing our country and make it a better place than the one we inherited.

Honesty, compassion, sympathy, empathy, respect, and courage to stand firm against wrongs, and challenging the status quo are qualities of great leaders. We are all in a position to lead. My hopes are that while our BlackStrap team is small, we still can support actions and stand with those who are believing and working to make a change for the better.

I am reminded daily of the good and evil in this world. I believe with all my heart that here, at BlackStrap, we are free from racism and safe from violence. Unfortunately, millions of our fellow citizens from the Black communities and people of color do not have his privilege and that is very heartbreaking.

It is impossible to not be distressed watching the news. This is a snapshot of what many communities encounter daily. We are experiencing the consequences when security forces are allowed actions that hurt individuals, families, and communities rather than protect them.

Here at BlackStrap, we work together daily to connect people with their passions through our gear and inspire communities around the world through the outdoors. It is obvious that the best gear cannot help anyone stay outdoors longer if they do not feel safe.

I believe we make great gear, but we never stop trying to make it better. The same applies to our communities; never stop to make them better. The issues of racism, brutality, and justice in our society are not perfect, and we must be relentless, and work harder more than ever in the effort to make our communities safer, better, and more in harmony.

I hope all of you think and reflect upon this message. This is not meant to influence your thinking in any way, rather inspire and share my stance on the current events.

How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

As a company we know that change needs to happen in the short term and long term and we will be active participants to contribute to the uplifting and improvement of our communities, below is where we are starting:

NOW

As a business based in a small, predominantly caucasian, community we are starting locally to support the movement towards equality for all. Firstly, we are making a donation of $5,000 to the Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly (COBLA). This organization is dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of Black people through actions committed towards racial equality, social justice and education. We support COBLA and its dedication to helping black people as well as people of color in our Central Oregon Community. Their goal is to make sure that all receive equal and fair treatment in all aspects of life.

SHORT TERM

It simply cannot stop there. Through our Civil Mask Donation program we have donated over 34,700 Public Safety Masks, totaling over $555,000 in resources, to community agencies and youth service organizations that support BIPOC and at risk civilians across our nation. Those receiving donations are nominated by the public, our employees and various industry partners, we are committed to continue donating masks as long as the need is present. It is known that our BIPOC communities are at an extreme disadvantage in every aspect of life, health services being one of the many. We have made a vow and instated practices to ensure that all of our donations are being done consciously and that they are reaching our underserved, BIPOC communities who need them most.  To nominate an agency/organization to receive mask donations follow the link in our bio (Visit bsbrand.com and submit a nomination).

LONG TERM

For the past few weeks, we have been listening attentively and further educating ourselves. However, we realize that this in itself is not enough, action’s need to be taken. We refuse to turn our back on senseless brutality and will leverage our platform and resources to amplify the voices of our Black communities.  We will directly support COBLA with resources, volunteers, events, and employment opportunities for the individuals of color in our home community. We will re-evaluate employee and ambassador programs to ensure we are representing all ethnicities more equally and work to make our company more diverse from the inside out. 

We ask our customers to join us in this effort and please extend your support, we are here, we are listening.

Sincerely,

Abe Shehadeh

 

 


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