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Diversity at REI

I find it telling that your drop down menu does not contain anything relevant to diversity.  
I live in the Detroit metro area.  The closest REI store to my home is the store in Troy MI store.   I am concerned with the lack of diversity I have observed for the last 15+ years at your Troy MI store.  I visited "our" Troy store earlier this week to pick up a few skiing items.  As well, I purposely circulated through the entire store noting each REI employee.  In the entire store, there were ZERO people of color employed and working.  My observation leads me to believe that REI hiring practices are discriminatory based on my observations of the make up of "our staff."   Whether purposely or not, the results of REI's hiring practices for the Troy MI store is that racial makeup of the store's employees does not represent that of Detroit or the Detroit metro area. 
The city of Detroit and the people of the city could use the help of the REI board.  I would like the REI board to consider the following action :
1. Establish hiring practices with the goal of achieving a workforce that is representative of the Detroit metro area at each of "our" Detroit metro area stores. 
2. Establish an REI store in the city of Detroit !!!!  Not only could this store support the ongoing revitalization of Detroit, it could also serve as a community outreach center helping people experience the outdoors and wilderness.  In addition, this store could also be situated such that mass transit could be used to visit the store as well as via bicycle.  
I do not think REI should be an organization that  appears to only supports white people living in the metro area of Detroit.  I do not believe the REI board does either but currently REI is operating this way in the metro area of Detroit.  
I would challenge all REI members to take a look at the hiring practices at your local REI store during your next visit.  Is the REI work force hired by REI representative of your community?  
As well, are the REI stores in your community placed in areas that are friendly to mass transit and bicycle access or are the stores only accessible via your car in distance suburbs?  
10 Replies

JenK, that blog has a list of a lot of organizations attempting to remedy the alleged problem which is all well and good. However I see not a word there about why the outdoors isn't a safe and equitable place for all; the descriptions seem to assume a problem without providing evidence.

And by the way, I'd suggest you also include Big City Mountaineers, a group that takes inner city youth backpacking etc. I've volunteered with them and they do great work (sadly not last summer with COVID though). Some of the kids they take into the backcountry have never seen stars.