EDITOR'S NOTE: This post will be updated regularly to highlight changes that have been implemented and additional action plan details as they arise.
In light of the recent disturbing and pivotal moments happening across the country, namely the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, AfterShokz is stepping into the fight for racial equity with intention and an open mind—and most importantly, with a plan for moving forward that we’re proud to share here.
We acknowledge that we haven’t always been a voice in conversations surrounding social issues, but we’re making a commitment to change that today. We’re taking this unprecedented moment in our history to answer the call for allyship, activism, and acceptance for everyone, and if you haven’t already, we encourage you to do the same. It starts with us––all of us.
Steps We've Completed As A Team (as of January 2021):
Employee Accountability: In the fall of 2020, we added an Anti-Racism policy within our company to encourage a greater focus on such a prevalent issue. We also encouraged our employees to exercise their right to vote on election days by making sure they have access to registration tools and were paid during the time that they were at the polls. We remain committed to finding even more ways we can continue to encourage and promote the voices of our team members within the business.
Increasing Diversity: AfterShokz employees completed an initial diversity training for all current team members in the fall of 2020. All team members have been actively continuing individual diversity training with personal action plans.
Additionally, diversity training is now a part of new hire orientations. Our Human Resources Department continues to make diversity a priority in our recruitment process, including clearly stating our commitment to diversity and inclusion within our job descriptions and career page.
Encouraging Action: As of December 2020, members of the AfterShokz Rewards Program now have the opportunity to donate their reward points to a nonprofit organization of their choice. Among the nonprofits featured are organizations that focus on serving BIPOC communities such as Black Men Run and The Loveland Foundation.
AfterShokz Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee: As of January 2021, AfterShokz has created an internal Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) committee comprised of a culturally, professionally, and ethnically diverse group of employees to continue our diversity and inclusion work while maintaining accountability among peers throughout our organization. The DEI committee will meet on a regular basis to help oversee and further implement social justice initiatives company-wide.
Steps We Continue To Take As A Team:
Marketing Initiatives: We’re committed to using our platform to educate and elevate the voices of marginalized groups through our marketing efforts. We have added a social action/human interest category to our blog and social channels, as well as ensuring our assets, including those on our website and social media feeds remain diverse and speak to everyone. We promise to work with athletes, ambassadors, and influencers who represent a variety of backgrounds.
Pausing For A Purpose: In July 2020, AfterShokz paused advertisements on all social media platforms for the entire month, in an effort to stop the spread of hate speech and to show solidarity with the Black community and other groups of marginalized people fighting against racism and hate.
In lieu of the month's forgone advertising spend, the AfterShokz Marketing Department instead allocated the funds to the following initiatives:
- Working with Black communities and expanding our support of racial equality initiatives internally and externally.
- Working with new BIPOC partners and content creators such as Black Men Run, Olympic Swimmer Lia Neal, and Olympic Runner Sanya Richards-Ross.
Be Open Interview Series: In the fall of 2020, our Marketing Department also launched the Be Open Interview Series on Instagram Live. The monthly series broadcasts a live and intimate conversation with our AfterShokz Ambassadors and top athletes who represent diversity within their sport or discipline. Each Be Open episode covers a variety of diverse topics including racial equity in the running community, encouraging body positivity, ways to make running more welcoming for transpeople, and more. Featured guests include Leo Manzano, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Meb Keflezighi, and others. All Be Open episodes are available for free viewing on our AfterShokz Instagram Page.
Steps You Can Take Yourself:
Making the choice to speak out and act against injustices begins with an educational foundation. Discovering ways to inform yourself and making the decision to act based on that knowledge is the responsibility of each and every one of us.
Educational Resources To Utilize:
Read: There’s no shortage of articles and books revolving around this topic! We would recommend reading How to Be an Ally to the Black Running Community, Running While Black: Our Readers Respond, or White Fragility for a longer read.
Watch: Many streaming services have made a point to highlight educational films and documentaries surrounding the BLM movement. Some we recommend would be 13th or When They See Us on Netflix or The Hate U Give on Hulu.
Listen: Many podcast hosts have been centering episodes around social justice issues and BLM in particular. We would recommend listening to these podcast episodes on your next run: White Privilege in the Wellness Industry, The Importance of the Nationwide Protests Over George Floyd's Death, and Not Just Another Protest.
Actions You Can Take:
Donate: If you have the means to do so, please consider donating to a legitimate organization connected to the Black Lives Matter movement. Some we would recommend are Thousand Currents, Know Your Rights Camp, or Campaign Zero, or research local organizations to donate to in your community.
Protest: Looking for ways to get involved in community events? Check out Facebook events around you or Google “Black Lives Matter protests in [your city]” for the most up-to-date information.
Support: One way to continue the movement is by making a conscious effort to support Black-owned businesses, not just now, but forever. Check out this list of online Black-owned businesses, or this directory from Official Black Wall Street for an easy way to find exactly what you want and start shopping!
Ways To Keep the Conversation Going:
Follow: Take a look at your Instagram feed. Does it represent a diverse range of body types, races, topics, and ideas? If not, it may be time to follow some new voices. Here are a few Black fitness influencers to follow who are leading conversations: Lita Lewis, Justin Williams, and Simone Manuel.
Share: Start a dialogue with friends and family members about why this movement is such an important one to understand and support. These kinds of conversations can be difficult to have, however, so we’d recommend reading one of these articles to get an idea of where to start: How to Talk to Relatives Who Care More About Looting Than Black Lives or How To Talk To Your Parents About Black Lives Matter.