After a tumultuous year of racial injustice protests, heated political climates, and Black-owned businesses in particular shuttering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Black History Month feels more important than ever. It’s a reminder to always lift up, listen to, celebrate and stand with the Black men and women in our lives, not just in the month of February, but every day. These recent events have also spurred corporations to take a more active role in diversity, inclusion and equity efforts, both internally and externally, and show a commitment to working with and better serving Black and minority communities.
In the past week, I’ve received several press releases highlighting a few of the brands and retailers that are launching initiatives in honor of Black History Month. While there are many, many more campaigns supporting Black Americans launching this month, the following caught my eye:
- Ulta Beauty will double the amount of products from Black-owned brands on store shelves by the end of 2021, invest in media campaigns that feature Black women, and expand employee training to fight unconscious bias.
- Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are distributing $14.3 million to 16 nonprofit organizations that advance racial equity in education, healthcare and more as part of its five-year, $100 million pledge to fight systemic racism.
- Facebook and Instagram are launching #BuyBlack Shop Collections to make it easy for millions of consumers to find and buy directly from Black-owned small businesses, in addition to several other initiatives designed to support Black-owned businesses, artists and more.
- UPS’ Proudly Unstoppable campaign commissioned artwork from Black and South Asian illustrator Sophia Yeshi to be printed on UPS Express packaging. UPS has also partnered with the 30 Day Fund to distribute grants to Black-owned small businesses in need, as well as debuted a book highlighting the stories of 29 former and current Black UPS leaders, “Black Voices From Big Brown.”
- Old Navy launched Project WE, a new collection of graphic tees designed by diverse artists celebrating cultural moments and movements, including Black History Month, International Women’s Day, Pride, Juneteenth, and LatinX Heritage Month. Old Navy is also donating $1 million to Boys & Girls Clubs of America to support youth arts programs in communities across the country.
- Under Armour and Baltimore photographer and activist Devin Allen revealed UNDR ARMR x DVNLLN, an employee-led capsule collection celebrating the resilience of Black culture through sports in the company’s hometown of Baltimore.
I also wanted to feature some of our most powerful and inspiring content featuring incredible Black women in our Women in Retail Leadership Circle community, as well as key articles and discussions around diversity, inclusion and equity in the retail space. Here are a few of our favorites:
- A Diversity Discussion From the Women in Retail and Total Retail Virtual Exchange
- Women in Retail Leadership Days sessions:
- Women in Retail Talks podcast episodes:
- ‘Equity is Just Good Business.’ 15 Percent Pledge Exec Shares Her Mantra
- GaBBY Bows Founder on Launching a Business at 7 Years Old and Being Confident
- 14-Year-Old Founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade on Being a Social Entrepreneur, Educator, and Teenager
- Shani Godwin on Erasing Mental Illness Stigma and Promoting Wellness at Work
- The Love of Retro Founder on Bringing Sustainability and Music Together Through Jewelry
- The Power of Embracing Diversity by Hortense le Gentil
- How to Become Better Allies and Fight Racism
- Supporting Black-Owned Businesses
- 6 Negotiation Tips From Leading Expert Carol Sankar (WIRLC Members Only)
P.S. Do you know an amazing Black woman in retail with an inspiring story to tell? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.