This week, we promised you that we would challenge ourselves and our community to be better listeners, better partners, better advocates for one another.
For us to see the change we want in the world outside, we must start inside. This means reevaluating the ways we operate as a co-op—from our internal practices to our external relationships, from our engagement with customers to our ways of participating in and advocating for the outdoors.
While the co-op has been engaging in this work for years, we must do better. Systemic change isn’t a quick fix. And we may not get it all right but that won’t stop us from trying.
We’re committed to this journey for the long haul, and promise to update and involve you along the way. In the near term, we’ll amplify the voices and stories of the Black community—the stories that need to be heard today.
Be heard, be seen, be the change. #BlackLivesMatter
REI should be doing more to advocate for Black people and People of Color in the outdoors, which is a predominantly white, middle-class space. I think we all want to see specific, actionable goals, for example, donating to Black organizations such as Outdoor Afro (outdoorafro.com), creating spaces in your leadership for BIPOC, and actively working to dismantle systemic racism in the outdoor community. As a leading outdoor company, you have a responsibility and an obligation to loudly, clearly, and publically stand up against racial injustice with your money and policies.
One of the reasons we are excited about this community is our ability hear directly from our members with their questions, concerns, suggestions, and feedback. We appreciate you reaching out about advocating for Black people and People of Color in the outdoors, and we agree with the points you raise. We have been fortunate to have Outdoor Afro as a national partner of REI for over 10 years. One aspect of that partnership is a seat on our Race & Place Advisory Council and the Recreate Responsibly Coalition we lead. We have also supported their work with sponsorships, financial, and in kind donations. We’ll continue to provide updates as we have more to share.