As Pride month has come to a close, we reflect on what has come to pass and what to look forward to. Though the festivities of Pride were canceled this year due to a worldwide pandemic, the feeling and the energy of Pride was still strong here in Chicago. We watched proudly as our city's LGBTQ+ community rallied behind the Black Lives Matter movement, leaving us once again hopeful for the future and the change this country so desperately needs. This moment needs to continue and grow until there is systemic change and actions to address racial injustice.
At Foursided, we acknowledge and are working hard to educate ourselves of the racial injustice that pervades our society; the result of centuries of systematic oppression on which our country has benefited from. Now is the time to make changes that have a continuous positive impact. We are listening to the world around us, our customers, and our employees to make decisions on what actions to take, where to invest, and where to adjust our business to reflect and make change.
When we started this business nineteen years ago, we focused on causes that were deeply important to us: including disenfranchised and marginalized people, giving a voice and a place of welcome to the LGBTQ community, and supporting people challenged by diabetes, mental health, and substance abuse. While we continue to support these issues that effect people of all color, race, and gender, we know we need to refocus our support. We acknowledge that we are accountable for, and have benefited from, white privilege and a system that favors white lives over Black lives. We are taking action to focus on this critical issue, using what influence we have in our community and our industry, to make change happen.
Bring Visibility to BIPOC Artists, Makers, and Business Owners.
A significant part of Foursided's mission has always been to cultivate communities who love art, to advance artisans and makers. We will seek to showcase more BIPOC artists and makers, building upon our showcased LGBTQ+ artists. We wish to highlight their voices for our customers through our stores, social channels, and online store.
Bring Products from Black-Owned and Designed Makers To Our Customers
We recently made a pledge to make 15% of our shelf space dedicated to product from Black makers, designers, authors and Black-owned businesses. Our buyers are actively seeking out and placing orders. Our customers can expect to see our inventory change going forward. We made a call for Black artists, makers, and designers last month to our customers and social media followers and have received a wealth of new avenues to support and buy from. We're excited for these new products to bring to you, our customers. Please send us other any of your favorite BIPOC created products, businesses, and artists you'd like to see in our shop!
Further Invest in Black Not-for-Profit (NFP) Organizations
This year and in future years, we will seek out Black NFP organizations, make donations to these organizations, and bring visibility to them with our customers and social channels. In early June we started with Black-led LGBTQ organizations, including donations to Brave Space Alliance, LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund, the Trans Justice Funding Project, and Chicago Birthworks Collective. We plan to do more this year and in the coming years. Each year we donate approximately $15k of charitable giving to various organizations. We encourage our customers to also consider supporting these organizations.
Our owners have also made significant personal contributions to Thresholds and have a space on the board of directors. Thresholds provides health care and housing services to people with mental health and substance use issues. Their programs also strive to reduce unnecessary prison and jail time.
Changes to Foursided’s Policies
We will continue to provide equal employment opportunities and continue to seek out diverse, talented candidates that reflect our society and seek to reduce marginalization. We have made Juneteenth a permanent paid holiday for all Foursided employees, starting with June 19, 2020. We are adding an additional day of paid time off to our policy for all employees, that they can dedicate to volunteering their time to the organization of their choice.
Foursided is committed to future actions that will result in change and equality for BIPOC in the United States. We will use the platform our privilege has created in every way we can to advance this cause. We are accountable for taking action now and in the future, and we will continue to listen to BIPOC voices, our customers, our employees, and our business partners.
We are not perfect, but we are learning, and we will continue to grow and change.