As an organization committed to breaking down systemic barriers to inclusion for all people, we must acknowledge the current protests and unrest that were specifically sparked by police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and that are a reflection of the more than 1,200 black citizens that have been killed by U.S. police since 2015. We mourn their deaths and condemn the white supremacist system that has allowed black lives to be less valuable than white lives. We stand with black people and with all people of color, we stand for justice, and we stand with those who have lost loved ones to police violence. Black lives always have and always will matter.
George Floyd’s murder happened during a pandemic that has exposed the food industry as a house of cards, dangerously close to collapsing under the strain of systemic oppression. Workers on farms and in processing plants – many of them immigrants, many undocumented and powerless to negotiate better working conditions – suffer from COVID-19 at far higher rates than the rest of us. Along with those who staff the front lines at our retail outlets, these workers are literally risking their lives to make sure food is available to the rest of us. No matter what Americans do for a living, they are contracting COVID-19, and dying of it, at much higher rates if they are of Native, Latinx, or African ethnicity. The events of 2020 remind us that racism is a life and death issue.
We believe that the natural foods industry must take bold steps to create an inclusive, equitable, more just world.
The Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (J.E.D.I) Collaborative, an OSC2 natural products industry collaborative, exists to support this work and enable these changes. We know the conditions that allowed George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others to die at the hands of police are complex and systemic, built on centuries of inequity and injustice, across every aspect of society. We know that our industry, for better or worse, is part of this system, and we know there are things we can do to stop hurting people and to lift more people up.