Adidas Employees Protest In Milan

Source: NurPhoto / Getty

If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you’ve seen brands and companies getting called out for the lack of Black people on staff.

While adidas wasn’t one of those brands, there was some internal protest after it released a statement in solidarity with people marching the streets after ex Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd. While the company’s stance on race was clear from the outside, Julia Bond — a black assistant designer for the brand– thought they had more work to do within.

“adidas has shown that there is a high tolerance for racism, even though publicly, they admonish it,” Bond shared with Quartz. “How many times have I gone into HR about a racist incident—only to be met with responses about the inflictors intent versus their impact, thus negating my experience?”

And now, adidas is taking an active approach, broken down into three actions, to address those concerns. The three stripes will invest $20 million in Black communities, offer university scholarships to Black employees, and commit to the hiring of more Black employees.

“The events of the past two weeks have caused all of us to reflect on what we can do to confront the cultural and systemic forces that sustain racism. We have had to look inward to ourselves as individuals and our organization and reflect on systems that disadvantage and silence Black individuals and communities”, said adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted in a press release. “While we have talked about the importance of inclusion, we must do more to create an environment in which all of our employees feel safe, heard, and have equal opportunity to advance their careers. As adidas, we will create a lasting change and we will do it now.”

To break down that $20 million, it’ll be split into between adidas Legacy, a grassroots basketball platform built for underserved communities, the adidas School for Experiential Education in Design, and Honoring Black Excellence, which is an “initiative honoring and supporting the Black community through sport.”

It looks like adidas is doing the work to help make athletic brands more inclusive and setting up people of color to win.

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