We shared this communication
Brooks Brothers associates worldwide.
We believe it’s important
that it be shared with everybody.
6.19.20 To our Brooks Brothers Colleagues,
In our last note, we addressed you during a very painful moment for the United States. It is important that we are clear in our condemnation of hatred, racial bias, and inequality of any kind and share support resources available to you. But we know that statements are not enough. George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police and the killings of countless other Black men and women have made it clear that there are systemic issues within many institutions that need to be eradicated in the fight for racial equality.
The current protests in cities across the U.S. are the cumulative effect of hundreds of years of oppression. The importance of this day is not lost on us. Juneteenth, an official holiday in 46 states, commemorates the end of 246 years of slavery on American land. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger read the federal orders freeing enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. All these years later, countless Black Americans — our neighbors, our colleagues, our families and friends — continue to be victims of individual and systemic racism, discrimination and injustice. It is due to this reality that we applaud and support those who are uniting to end the violence and working toward structural reform. Though we may have had stores damaged, make no mistake: glass and inventory can be replaced, lives cannot.
We realize that our company’s 200-year history is intertwined with that of the United States. While we have yet to uncover confirming documentation of the company’s role, we continuously examine our extensive archives and consult with historians on the subject. We are committed to this ongoing research. If the company benefited in any way from this oppression, we wholeheartedly apologize and we firmly state that it would be entirely contrary to our beliefs today. We are committed to dismantling any shred of systemic racism within our company and creating an inclusive culture for all of our associates, and customers.
As the country looks inward, so must we. We cannot look at the world and say it needs to change, and not look within ourselves with that same lens. This has been an incredible time for learning and growth for the country and in that spirit, we have spent the last two weeks listening and discussing how we address these important topics as an organization.
Our values at Brooks Brothers align with and our morals support the objectives of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, we must collectively use this moment as a catalyst for change and recommit to placing equity, justice, inclusion, and belonging at the center of who we are as an organization. Despite the challenging business conditions, we ask every associate across the company to join us in supporting and prioritizing these conversations in ways that we haven’t in the past. We must be committed to ensuring environments that are anti-racist for both our associates, our customers and for our communities. Racial injustice, prejudice and hate in all its forms, will never have a place in any of our offices, facilities or stores
We’ve heard your ask for immediate and purposeful
And today, we are committing to the
- We commit to assessing our own diversity metrics and identifying the areas where we may fall short. Which will give us the chance to pinpoint specific opportunities to diversify and better represent the communities we serve.
- We will audit and update our own policies to ensure they reflect the equality that we demand in the workplace.
- We commit to listening. Your experiences and ideas are critical to implementing meaningful change and we will provide the space, through focus groups and conversations, for your voices to be heard.
- We will revise and enhance our existing diversity and inclusion programming – elevating your ideas and seeking the expertise of others to drive lasting change, both inside and outside of the organization.
- We commit to creating an environment of belonging for our associates everywhere and will hold ourselves accountable to this highest standard across every team. Most immediately, we will engage our associates in a conversation to share their perspectives on what effective change needs to looks like in the organization.
And, we will not stop here. As a community, we each have a role to play in making a difference. We are committed as a company and as leaders to reflect and to learn. We are all made better by the different perspectives and points of view of those around us. We must be open and transparent in this dialogue. As we’ve previously said, these conversations are not easy, but we must emphasize that they are far too important not to take the time to discuss now.
Our Diversity and Inclusion leadership team is reviewing our strategies moving forward and is discussing with our Employee Resource Groups, how to affect change in a very real way. We look forward to sharing more on this in the coming weeks.
This is not a singular moment, and there is no overnight fix. The work ahead of us will require that we come together to push boundaries and confront these issues head-on as we endeavor to fulfill our duty in the fight for a better future. This is only the beginning.
Claudio Del Vecchio
Chairman and CEO
and The Brooks Brothers Executive Team