by Jill Aschkenasy
Our country has been in crisis for a while, and I know these thoughts are long overdue, so please excuse the delay, but I wanted to get this right and speak completely from the heart. Here, at Our Closet, we always strive to do better. We aim to be inclusive and fair, and we deeply believe in equity. Our country is struggling in so many ways, and as we continue to battle a global pandemic, we are also simultaneously addressing social unrest and an extraordinary, and very necessary, reckoning of racial issues in America.
Like all of you, I long to see true racial equality and an end to mistreatment of and lack of opportunity for Black and brown communities. I want to believe that the power of continued protest will bring about an awakening. I pray that we see real sustainable changes in our institutions and in the minds of our citizens, neighbors, friends, and community at large.
We have always had a policy of inclusion and equity at Our Closet; essentially it is at the root of all we do. We are serving those in need, and our values in doing so reflect what we believe and what we practice.
- Zero-tolerance- We absolutely reject any form of racism, bigotry, discrimination, prejudice or hatred. It is our hope that all with whom we interact – shoppers, partners, volunteers, donors and others – know this to be true and feel it as a core value of our work.
- Inclusion- We work to create an environment where all who share our values of racial equity, social justice and anti-racism are meant to feel welcome and included.
- Affirmative Advocating- We believe that silence is complicit agreement. We believe that in order to see change forward we must tackle difficult conversations with our friends, families, co-workers and neighbors. We must advocate for what we know is right and not allow any more silence. This difficult and challenging dialogue is the only path to real change.
We pray that our country (and the world at large) sees and reflects the institutional change necessary to build a more equitable system in the very near future. Rest assured, at Our Closet, our team will be loud and vocal about equality, integrity, dignity and our support of the Black community and other people of color. We will do our part as fellow Philadelphians and conscientious, action-oriented world citizens.