This statement was originally published on OGE’s social channels June 2nd, 2020.
Black Lives Matter.
OGE unequivocally condemns the actions of the Minneapolis Police Officers involved in George Floyd’s tragic and unnecessary death. Sadly, this is the latest in a long series of incidents throughout the country, including our own Vermont, that speak of a systemic problem of racism in the US. This is a problem that will not go away because some other topic becomes front and center in the news. This is not a problem that we can legislate away. And this is not a problem that we can turn a blind eye to – a fact made more salient by the extensive and passionate protests, peaceful and otherwise, that have occurred throughout our nation in the past week.
Both Vermont and the Outdoor Industry are notably lacking diversity. This is a fact that for decades has been attributed to circumstance. It is, unfortunately, anything but circumstantial and for that reason it is something we NEED to work on correcting. Regrettably, we at OGE don’t have a solution – though we know it cannot be fixed quickly or easily. We do have the ability to actively engage in this conversation. We can and will use our position in the industry and in the Vermont community to work to create more opportunities for inclusion and support those in the community who may not be able to recreate, socialize, shop, or merely exist with the safety and sense of security afforded to others in our community who differ only in their skin color. We are open to hearing how we, as an organization, can improve in this regard and welcome your feedback.
We ask that you, as a follower and friend of OGE, commit to discussing this issue with your family, friends, and colleagues. That you look for ways to give voice to those whose voices are diminished by divisive and hateful rhetoric wherever it comes from. And that, when you see a wrong being committed, whether it be by intent or by ignorance, that you speak up and give clear support to those who deserve and need it. Thank you to everyone who has made their voice heard already.