Black Lives Matter - June 3, 2020 Updates
Read our full statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement here.
To our community,
The past few days, our team has dedicated our time to listening, researching, and organizing. Milk Bar has not been vocal or direct enough about the issues that face marginalized people, or been adequately representative of who we are and who we serve. That stops now. Systemic and institutionalized racism has plagued our country since its very beginning, and Black people have faced extraordinary bigotry, harassment, and trauma every single day since. Police brutality and the murders of unarmed Black people are examples of this rampant racism, and we have lost too many lives as a result: George Floyd, Nina Pop, David McAtee, Rekia Boyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Shantel Davis, Mya Hall, Alexia Christian, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown — to name just a few. We unequivocally believe that Black Lives Matter and we must recognize that white supremacy exists within every facet of our country before we can move forward. We must take action to ensure that we participate in dismantling this racist system, starting now.
It is our duty and priority to ensure the wellbeing and safety of our team, today and everyday. We have been listening to you and to our country, and we have seen many in pain. We brought our teams together this week and heard from many Black voices in our company who are heartbroken. Heartbroken because of the pain they feel facing these injustices day after day, because of the conversations they will have to have with their children about being careful just because they are Black, because the only thing they can do is to go out and protest knowing the risks involved in staying out. In these times and beyond, we will do everything we can to protect and empower the people who make Milk Bar possible. We will offer additional paid time off for our employees’ mental health, we will continue to host open forums for our team to express their concerns and engage in open dialogue about what is going on and what we can do, and we will close stores as necessary to preserve our employees’ physical safety — property can be replaced, but lives cannot.
Milk Bar is also fundamentally reassessing our internal structures, creating a culture grounded in anti-racism that allows for those members of the community to be heard and made safe in historically white spaces. We are beginning this work by creating avenues within our organization where affinity groups can find community and support from Milk Bar, both in and out of crisis. Furthermore, we are committed to making sure our investors, partners,suppliers — anyone who joins the extended Milk Bar family — also share in our values.
We see a lot of sentiment out there, which isn’t as impactful as action. We’re guilty of that, too. We have benefitted from a system and structure that has allowed us to succeed and we must give back to the communities who have not had the same opportunities because of the color of their skin. In pledging to do better, we have asked our entire company to help in choosing the organizations where Milk Bar will donate, and we will keep you posted on our donations and long-term partnerships. We will also launch the option for Milk Bar’s online customers to contribute to Black Lives Matter and The Innocence Project. We hope you’ll consider donating to them, too. We will continue to learn from our internal and external community and will share more linking to these organizations, as well as other ways you can get involved beyond donations.
We also recognize that we have a responsibility to the neighborhoods in which we operate and the communities in which we live. The current presidential administration does not align with our company values or beliefs. With elections at local, state, and national levels already at hand, we urge our following and our staff to VOTE at every opportunity to make sure that the people making decisions for our country will act on the right side of history. We will accommodate our staff to be able to vote on a workday by any means necessary. If you need support or information on your local elections, visit Rock the Vote.
We pledge to do better, and this is not the last you will hear from us on the subject. In the meantime, stay safe, stay strong, let us know how you are feeling, and don’t forget to find joy where you can.
Team Milk Bar