After more than a week of social justice protests erupting across America following the senseless May 25 death of George Floyd, powerful brands are feeling the pressure to speak out in solidarity.
Nike, who has openly supported social justice reform in the past, is now setting the tone once again. On Friday evening (May 29) Nike shared a 60-second video on all of its social media accounts demanding change.
“For once, don’t do it. Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism,” it read. “Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t sit back and be silent. Don’t think you can’t be part of the change. Let’s all be part of the change.”
In an email from Nike’s CEO, John Donahoe explains in further detail why the company decided to respond to unjust and racially charged deaths on George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Christian Cooper:
"Team, As we’ve watched racial tragedies expose prejudice and injustice in our cities over these past few weeks, I can’t stop thinking about the individuals impacted: Ahmaud Arbery. Christian Cooper. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. The horrible killings and racist actions serve as a sickening reminder of what too many people live through every day in America,” Donahoe said. “It is absolutely wrong what’s happening in our communities, to our friends and family members. These tragedies are not unique to the U.S. Far from it – we see violent incidents in countries all over the world, fueled by hatred and ignorance."
Donahoe continued making it clear that Nike does not stand for or tolerate prejudice:
"Let me be as clear as I can: Nike is opposed to bigotry. We are opposed to hatred and inequality in all its forms, indirect and overt. While Nike cannot solve injustice, I believe we have a responsibility to work toward addressing it to the best of our ability."
He closed his statement informing his diverse staff not to feel discouraged by the events that have taken over the streets of the nation and to understand "Until We All Win. And we will never ever quit until that becomes a reality.":
"I encourage all of us to not be daunted by the enormity of what we face today. The tragedies we face, we face together. We choose to act in a way that is authentic and true to our values. We are compelled by our purpose."
BET has been covering every angle of George Floyd’s death in police custody, other social justice cases and the subsequent aftermath and protests. For our continuing coverage, click here.