Rack Room Shoes announced steps to take a stand against systemic racism and injustices that continue to affect the Black community. The Charlotte-based chain has committed to a $1 million donation, $200,000 per year for five years, to use towards a diversity plan that includes scholarships, internship opportunities, mentoring programs and other donations for education and economic development in the black community. The company’s diversity plan will also include implicit bias and acceptance of cultural differences training at their 500 plus store locations and the corporate offices.
“We are at the moment in history where change is crucial for the betterment of our company and the communities we serve,” states Brenda Christmon, director of corporate communications of Rack Room Shoes. “The recent, senseless killings of Ahmad Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, as well as far too many others, have sparked conversations about racial injustices and inequities that are long overdue. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the core values on which our company was built—trust, respect and social responsibility—are the values we will continue to uphold and build upon.”
Rack Room Shoes has a strong history of supporting outreach programs in the African American community, including donations to the Chris Paul and Arthur Ashe Foundations as well as numerous community charities and churches. Rack Room Shoes Gives, the charitable arm of the company, ensures social responsibility efforts reach customers from every race, ethnicity, faith, age, gender and sexual orientation. The company donates more than $200,000 per year through their Local Community program and has provided more than 324,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need and raised more than $8.8 Million to date through their partnership with Shoes That Fit, a national non-profit organization.
“Dedicating an additional $1 Million, which will be specifically targeted to the black community, is a step in the right direction,” Christmon says. “We are a company that doesn’t believe the narrative begins now, we believe the work begins now.”