In the United States, the month of February is observed as Black History Month, a time for us to honor and celebrate the contributions of Black and Brown leaders who have fought tirelessly for equality and recognition of basic human rights.
We also use the 28 days to celebrate Black joy and put a spotlight on the many untold stories to inspire and uplift Black culture.
Celebrating Culture and Heritage
To kickstart the month, Project Onyx, LS&Co.’s Black employee resource group, sat with Dr. Ameer Hasan Loggins — a graduate of UC Berkeley with a Ph.D. in African American studies and a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University — and employees globally to discuss Black consciousness and Black love. The discussion explored the role of consciousness and love in living in liberation.
Project Onyx is a group of employees dedicated to cultivating, strengthening and sustaining positive relationships between LS&Co.’s Black employees and the broader company. They strive to build an engaging and empowering organization with efforts behind cultural mindfulness, career elevation and community involvement. In all, they are committed to helping LS&Co. be at the center of culture by building a corporate environment that is all-inclusive and just as inspiring as the fans who wear our products.
Later this month, employees will continue to dive into stories on the Black experience and will sit with Selema Masekela — a beloved action sports icon, philanthropist, musician, co-founder of Mami Wata Surf, Emmy-nominated producer and Dockers® brand ambassador — for a session in our series on identity, culture and current events, Denim Table Talks. Selema will introduce the African surf pioneers and will share his journey to self-discovery.
Our Commitment to Racial Equity
We’re working hard to listen so we can better understand the experiences of our Black and Brown employees. This will help us develop programs and policies in support of the recruitment, hiring and promotion of more People of Color at all levels of our organization and to provide the best employee experience possible.
One exciting way we’ve brought this commitment to life is through the launch of our new talent development program for our Black and Latinx/Hispanic talent, Elevate: Accelerate Your Career. Elevate is LS&Co.’s inaugural efficacy program that honors the unique experiences and challenges of Black and Hispanic/Latinx talent in our workforce. The program acknowledges headwinds and empowers participants with the confidence, tools and resources needed to connect to personal power, peers and leaders.
An especially powerful aspect of Elevate is the engagement and development of the cohort participants’ managers, whom we work with to increase their cultural competence while equipping them with the tools, resources and inspiration to be more inclusive, empathetic, agile and skilled people leaders.
Building on our commitment, we’ve made true to our promise of increased support of racial equity and nonprofit organizations led by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). In 2022, our grants reflected this: 55% of the organizations we supported were BIPOC-led and 46% of the company’s giving advanced racial equity goals. In addition, in 2022 the Levi Strauss Foundation provided $12.2 million in grants — nearly all of which were made to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities in the U.S. and disenfranchised communities outside the U.S.
The Journey Ahead
Black history is everyone’s history, and we all share in the contribution of the joy of being Black in our world. This month, we challenge you to consider ways you can take action for equality and meaningfully connect with the Black community. Our commitment to racial equity and justice does not stop here and we’ll continue to pave the way for a brighter future.
We’ll have more to share in our 2022 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Impact Report on our progress toward achieving a workforce that reflects the communities where we work and serve.