RILA Partners with Open to All® on DEI Initiatives
Campaign Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatves
- By [ Erin Hiatt , Melissa Murdock ]
- Washington, DC
Open to All is a nonprofit nondiscrimination campaign that believes everyone should be welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, religion or disability. Open to All partners commit to maintaining a welcoming and safe environment for people—including employees, visitors, customers, vendors and clients—and to not discriminate against any individuals or deny them goods or services based on any of these characteristics.
“We are thrilled to welcome American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., DICK’S Sporting Goods, J.Crew Group and RILA, who each support Open to All’s mission of eradicating discrimination from public space,” said Calla Devlin Rongerude, Director of Open to All. “These leading organizations and brands have a proven track record in diversity, equity and inclusion. By building a strong foundation and working actively to create an environment of equity, inclusion and empathy, employees are able to work in a welcoming and safe place while building lasting connections with the communities they serve.”
RILA, the US trade association for leading retailers, joins Open to All’s Public Education Coalition while new corporate sponsors AEO, DICK’S Sporting Goods and J.Crew Group have signed the Business Pledge, committing to values of diversity, equity and inclusion.
As an association consisting of over 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers, RILA reaffirms its mission to advocate and promote operational excellence and innovation in an ever-shifting industry. Recent diversity and nondiscrimination initiatives speak to all their efforts to advocate for an ever-changing and diverse workforce. To this effect, RILA recently delivered their 2021 Public Policy Agenda which outlines retail industry priorities on criminal justice reform, community safety during the pandemic and diversity and inclusion imperatives. RILA is a strong supporter of the Equality Act and is working with Congress to see it enacted into law.
“As the nation’s largest private sector employer, the retail industry has embraced its role in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion both within the retail workforce and within the communities the industry serves,” said RILA president Brian Dodge. “Retailers are engraining this work into core business values because we understand that equity demands constant dedication, awareness and learning. RILA is excited to join the Open to All campaign as we strive together to build a more inclusive and equitable retail ecosystem.”
AEO Inc. is a leading global specialty retailer that celebrates optimism and individuality by empowering its associates and American Eagle and Aerie customers to be their real, authentic selves. AEO is committed to creating real and lasting change by inspiring others to use positive actions to promote belonging, understanding, equality and kindness. AEO is dedicated to being part of the solution, which is reflected in recent initiatives such as appointing the company’s first Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer; the launch of the AEO Real Change Scholarship for Social Justice to advance education opportunities for associates; its continued support of the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate school-based program to combat hate and discrimination at an early age; and the ongoing efforts to advance the careers of people of color through partnerships with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Harlem’s Fashion Row and HBCUs.
“At AEO we know that every action we take—big or small—can have a huge impact. By pledging our support to Open to All, we affirm our commitment to being a company where customers and associates feel accepted, respected and empowered to be themselves,” said Jay Schottenstein, Jay Schottenstein, Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, AEO Inc. “This is another step forward in AEO’s journey in helping to build a better world for future generations.”
With more than 850 stores and 40,000 teammates, DICK’S Sporting Goods believes it has a fundamental role to play in supporting a broad range of DE&I initiatives across the retail industry and within its company. DICK’S also recently invested $12.5 million in the Black Economic Development Fund to fuel minority lenders and anchor institutions and businesses as part of an effort to close the racial wealth gap.
“We are proud to partner with Open to All and stand with other businesses so we can continue to strengthen our communities and create spaces where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected,”
said Lauren Hobart, DICK'S Sporting Goods President and CEO.
J.Crew Group’s commitment to social responsibility is woven into their DNA and a core focus for its J.Crew, Madewell and J.Crew Factory brands. J.Crew Group recognizes the importance of having a diverse workforce and is committed to increasing representation throughout all facets of the organization. In addition, Madewell has partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to educate their community and support their work to ensure equality for all, and recently joined the 15% Pledge, a nonprofit advocacy organization urging major retailers to commit 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
“At J.Crew Group, we are committed to creating accessible and inclusive environments for everyone who is part of our community. Taking the Open to All pledge was a natural extension of our values,” said Libby Wadle, CEO of J.Crew Group. “We believe it’s crucial that our spaces are equitable and welcoming for everyone. We look forward to furthering our partnership with Open to All and engaging in continued dialogue with our entire community to make sure we are as inclusive as possible.”
Never before have so many businesses and nonprofits joined together in a single, unified campaign that sends a message that everyone is welcome, valued and respected. Because when a business is open to the public, it should be open to all. Businesses can sign the pledge at http://www.opentoall.com/business-pledge/.
For more information about Open to All or today’s announcement, please visit www.OpenToAll.com.
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About American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) is a leading global specialty retailer offering high-quality, on-trend clothing, accessories and personal care products at affordable prices under its American Eagle® and Aerie® brands. Our purpose is to show the world that there’s REAL power in the optimism of youth. The company operates stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Hong Kong, and ships to 81 countries worldwide through its websites. American Eagle and Aerie merchandise also is available at more than 200 international locations operated by licensees in 25 countries. For more information, please visit www.aeo-inc.com.
About DICK’S Sporting Goods
Founded in 1948, DICK'S Sporting Goods, Inc. is a leading omni-channel sporting goods retailer offering an extensive assortment of authentic, high-quality sports equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories. As of January 30, 2021, the Company operated 728 DICK'S Sporting Goods locations, serving and inspiring athletes and outdoor enthusiasts to achieve their personal best through a blend of dedicated teammates, in-store services and unique specialty shop-in-shops.
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, DICK’S also owns and operates Golf Galaxy and Field & Stream specialty stores, as well as GameChanger, a youth sports mobile app for scheduling, communications and live scorekeeping. For more information, visit the Investor Relations page at dicks.com.
About J.Crew Group
J.Crew Group is an internationally recognized omnichannel retailer of women's, men's, and children's apparel, shoes, and accessories. [As of March 1, 2021,] the Company operates  J.Crew retail stores,  Madewell stores, and  J.Crew Factory stores in nearly every state in the United States, and also maintains J.Crew, Madewell, and J.Crew Factory websites. For more information visit www.jcrew.com, www.madewell.com and www.jcrewfactory.com.
About Open to All
Open to All is one of the most significant public education efforts to date that unites and galvanizes national leaders in business, civic engagement, and the nonprofit sector to support the shared American values of fairness and equality. In addition to the 500,000 business members, Open to All includes more than 200 nonprofit members spanning civil rights and racial justice organizations; LGBTQ equality organizations; health and disability organizations; faith organizations; and more. Open to All members are committed to building awareness and understanding about the importance of nondiscrimination—and to defend the bedrock principle that when businesses open their doors to the public, they should be Open to All. www.opentoall.com
RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to reimagine and transform the retail ecosystem—and equip leading retailers to succeed in it.
RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad. www.rila.org
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