On Tuesday, American denim company Levi Strauss & Co. made the announcement that they will be launching a three-tiered initiative to benefit certain groups that are working to prevent gun violence saying that it has a “moral obligation” to tackle the country’s “gun violence epidemic.”
The denim giant is setting aside $1 million in donations to groups that are wanting to help end gun violence in the United States. It is also partnering with Everytown for Gun Safety and business leaders that include Michael Bloomberg to form a group of leaders pushing for “change.”
“You may wonder why a company that doesn’t manufacture or sell guns is wading into this issue, but for us, it’s simple,” Chip Bergh, the company’s CEO, said as he made the announcement.
“Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence. It’s an issue that affects all of us – all generations and all walks of life.”
“As business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work,” Bergh wrote in an op-ed that was posted on Fortune on Tuesday. “While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option. That’s why Levi Strauss & Co. is stepping up our support for gun violence prevention.”
After companies such as Walmart, Kroger and Dick’s Sporting Goods stopped selling “assault-style” rifles or raised the age one is able to purchase guns, the public showed their displeasure and stopped spending their hard earned money in response.
Bergh said that the responsibility falls on him to speak up for such important issues as gun violence since he leads what he calls a ““values-drive company that’s known the world over as a pioneer of the American West and one of the great symbols of American freedom.”
Bergh added that he is not advocating to repeal the 2nd Amendment or calling those who own guns irresponsible.
We can’t insulate ourselves from every threat,” Bergh wrote. “We can’t ‘harden’ every place we gather — whether it be our schools, workplaces, shops, churches, or entertainment venues. But we can take common-sense, measurable steps — like criminal background checks on all gun sales — that will save lives.”
According to the Levi Strauss & Co. blog, they have established The Safer Tomorrow Fund to “direct more than $1 million in philanthropic grants from LS&Co. over the next four years to fuel the work of nonprofits and youth activists who are working to end gun violence in America.”
Levi Strauss & Co. will double their usual employee donation match to organizations that align with the Safer Tomorrow Fund, and are encouraging their employees to “utilize their five hours a month in pain volunteer time to get more politically active.”
Levi’s is also supporting Black & Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium (BBGVPC), which claims to work to scale strategies that reduce urban gun violence in high-risk communities across the United States. The pair have plans to “train youth impacted by gun violence on successful gun violence reduction strategies in an effort to create an intergenerational pipeline of expertise and leadership.”
Levi Strauss & Co. have plans to support a series of town halls across the America in cities that are “disproportionately impacted by gun violence,” as well as supporting a series of Youth Leadership Summits organized by volunteers from Students Demand Action, which is a part of Everytown for Gun Safety led by high school and college students–also to be held in cities “disproportionately impacted by gun violence.”
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