As Black History Month begins, the news of brands stepping up their diversity and inclusion efforts is rightly causing waves.
Today Aurora James announced that Gap Inc. has joined 15 Percent Pledge, a nonprofit that the designer founded to strengthen Black’s brands. Retailers will be held accountable for pledging to devote 15% of their shelf space to black-owned labels.
The company, the parent company of its namesake as well as Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, joins the pAs an “advocacy partner,” commit to ensuring black representation across the company, starting with early empowerment programs that nonprofits say have an emphasis on internships, external internships, apprenticeships and training. (The 15 percent pledge has typically asked multi-brand retailers to dedicate 15 percent of their shelf space to black-owned companies.)
“The inequalities we face in this country are not resolved by one-time donations, black boxes, monolithic DEI committees, or seriously written Instagram posts. It will be solved through action, long-term commitments and direct accountability to black women, ”James said on Instagram Monday morning. “This month I challenge every CEO to think about heritage, think about people, think about privilege, think about this country, and think about our children. What world do we want to leave behind for our children? The future deserves more than your symbolic gesture. I’ll be here when you’re ready to talk. We have secured a place for you. “
Gap said today that it is also donating $ 200,000 to the 15 percent pledge, adding: “[We are] We are committed to increasing our pipeline programs by 15 percent to improve access and opportunities for the black community within the Gap Inc. family of brands. “
This month the company is expected to release its 2020 annual report, Equality & Belonging, which shows the company’s continued commitment to equity creation. In December, the company assisted Casey Goodson Jr., a black man and former Gap Inc. employee, who was fatally shot by police at his Columbus, Ohio home. “We mourn Casey Goodson Jr., a Gap Inc. employee who was fatally shot by police in his home, and we are in contact with his family to provide support during this time,” the company wrote on Twitter . including a link to Goodson’s GoFundMe family site.
Other companies that have signed the 15 percent pledge since James started the nonprofit last summer include Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, Bloomingdale’s, Rent the Runway, Sephora, Madewell, Instyle, Vogue, Yelp, Westulme , Blue Mercury, CB2, Medmen and Indigo.
James was named Person of the Year 2020 by the FN for promoting diversity in fashion. She assumed important leadership roles in the industry and led important conversations on racial justice. It focuses on addressing the critical issues facing fashion in 2021. Also, her nonprofit is more than just achieving quotas, she told FN in December, asking questions and training companies to become more effective allies of black brands.
CREDIT: Sage East
“As a black woman living in America in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd and the senseless murders of many other people, I needed that to feel like corporations support black people,” she said. “So I wanted to ask a clear question and give people the opportunity to meet me where I am or to be very disappointed.”