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We must stand against racism
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

We must stand against racism

June 01, 20

Update on the response to the violent attack on our nation's capital on January 6, 2021

Two days ago we watched a mob of insurrectionists storm our most sacred symbol of democracy threatening the sanctity and safety of our government and its officials. This was a mob that was allowed to violently enter our capital, threaten the lives of our law makers, foment hate, spew conspiracy, denigrate government property and make a mockery of our nation. And this mob was incited by our President who has constantly and consistently encouraged violence, stoked hate, and lied to the American people. What we saw was also a painful example of a system of white supremacy that seeks to uphold power, and a mob that exercised the knowledge that because of their whiteness, they would be let in, they would be allowed to trash offices, stand in our most sacred rooms of government, take selfies with law enforcement, brandish weapons, and then be merely escorted out. What we saw was a response that further highlights the systemic racism ingrained in our systems and that justice is not applied equally in this country.

At LifeStraw we believe that our goals of providing safe drinking water cannot be accomplished without also supporting social justice, human rights, and human equity. And that is why we must speak up, and speak out. We call for the immediate removal of President Trump from office and we must call for justice and accountability of all that were involved in these acts of domestic terrorism.

Message on June 2, 2020

This is a moment in our history when the systemic racism in this country is on full display. George Floyd’s violent death at the hands of a Minnesota police officer is the most recent tragedy in a pattern of police brutality and violence against black men and black women - Ahmaud Arbery killed in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Louisville and we are less than a year from when Atatiana Jefferson was killed by a Fort Worth police officer in her own home. This all comes just a few weeks after the five-year anniversary of the homicide of Freddie Gray in the custody of Baltimore police.

The death of George Floyd has again vividly exposed systemic racism and injustice that has long existed in America. Throughout the course of the past few days, many activists and influencers in our communities have reminded us all of words like those of Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

As LifeStraw, we choose not to be neutral. We choose to stand in solidarity with our black community, our black colleagues, and our black friends and call for justice and accountability.

As a public health company we have always held human health and human life as a top priority. We fight every day to provide access to safe water to those whom most need it around the world. Yet what we often have not said and what lays implicit is that racism plays a massive role in the inequalities that persist between those with access to safe water and those without. Systemic racism is a public health crisis.

Sometimes it takes a tipping point for us to acknowledge and fight for a cause that is critical to our community. I wish that tipping point didn’t have to be the tragic violence and death of another black man and the pain and suffering of another family and another community.

As a company, we recognize our responsibility to step up. We will begin the hard work of ensuring we are stepping up to be anti-racist when we encounter systemic and overt racism that impacts the communities where we work across the globe. We will invite discussion, education and we will use the words racism to describe the underlying factors affecting these communities. And we commit to learning and being better because we know that being anti-racist is a work in progress. We will continue to seek out minority owned businesses to partner with and build hiring practices that ensure a diverse and safe workplace at LifeStraw. We will also continue to support and amplify the voices of our community that say it best and most authentically through their words and through their actions. That means right now we will be making contributions to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and to Color of Change and we will also continue to examine more meaningful ways we can support organizations like these in the long-term.

We must stand against racism. We must stand together

Alison Hill, CEO LifeStraw

Mikkel Vestergaard, Owner, LifeStraw