An Open Letter to Our Employees
This week, we’ve been listening, we’ve been learning and we’ve been taking a close look at our organization and our core values. We know that Buffalo Exchange is nothing more or less than the people involved in our enterprise – both employees and customers – and we recognize that many of those people are threatened by inequality and injustice and are hurting immensely right now. We have always believed that all individuals should be treated with equality, integrity and respect. In order to uphold these longstanding values, we must stand up in the fight against racism. At our core, we’re a learning organization and we have a responsibility to do better.
One of the first steps we’re taking is creating an advisory committee focused on improving diversity, inclusion and racial sensitivity within our company. The committee will be made up of a diverse group of employees at all levels of our organization who will provide insights and actionable solutions so that we can continue to become better allies to our Black and NbPOC employees and customers.
Over the past 46 years, we’ve always been determined to uplift the communities we’re apart of. While we were mainly focused on empowering women, protecting the environment and helping animals in need, we recognize that this too must change. Civil rights will become a permanent part of that list. Starting in the next few weeks, in addition to our donation to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter, we’re introducing an additional Tokens for Bags™ box in all of our stores specifically dedicated to Black Lives Matter.
Our efforts won’t stop there. In 2015, we introduced Clothing for the Community™, which has successfully raised over $56k for a number of Southern Arizona non-profits. In the coming weeks, we’ll be hosting a $1 sale through that initiative in Tucson, AZ and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Equal Justice Initiative. Once we’re able to do so – hopefully in the coming months – we’ll also hold a nationwide $1 sale at all of our stores to benefit a wide array of Black non-profit organizations. These steps are just the beginning.
Close to 1,000 employees have trusted us with providing them a livelihood. We don’t take that responsibility lightly. During the pandemic and as we look forward, we’ve had to consider how long we can continue operating and providing that livelihood with the small reserve we have left – it weighs heavily on our minds every night. We know that many of you who are dedicated to Buffalo Exchange worry about our future as well. We can tell you we’re here to fight for you, for the survival of our company, for the livelihood of our employees and for a future of real justice and change.
We know that there are more important things in the world than clothing, but we also know that our company goes much deeper than just fashion. So we thank you for being with us while working towards better allyship for the BIPOC community, while hoping for a strong future for our stores and as we continually learn and grow, both personally and as an organization.
Most deeply and sincerely, we thank you for being a Buffalo.
Kerstin and Rebecca Block
President and Vice President
Over the past few days, we’ve worked to educate ourselves on the current feeling of frustration, unrest and pain felt by Black communities across the US. Thank you to all those who reached out to us. We respect and value all Black lives. We see you, we stand in solidarity with you, and we are sad — this goes even more so for our Black customers and employees. Buffalo Exchange will be donating $5,000 to the NAACP and $5,000 to Black Lives Matter.
Our work doesn’t stop there — we recognize that we have our blind spots. We are proud to be a woman-led business with values of inclusivity, diversity and empowerment, but we have a responsibility to actively and continuously pursue those values. Our ideals fall flat if we don’t make a conscious effort towards intersectionality and we are making it a priority to improve our advocacy for Black/NbPOC people and other disenfranchised communities. We must use our privilege for good: we will not remain silent and we will use our platforms to amplify and uplift the voices of those who have gone ignored. The path to progress is not always easy, quick or comfortable, but it is one we must take. Black Lives Matter, now and always.
We are committed to continued action and will share updates soon.