Words are not enough, yet are of extreme importance. Silence has long contributed to the injustice and systemic racism that has taken so many Black lives. So, to be clear today and every day: Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with the Black community in the fight against racism and injustice with both words and meaningful, sustained actions.
As a business, we know RTR can do even better – to be more inclusive, more diverse and anti-racist. We are committed to following through with a long-term strategy to create lasting change. We want our actions as a business to be substantive and systematic, so we are doing the slow work to build a clear and sustained long-term strategy to fight systemic racism and make Rent the Runway, and the wider fashion industry, more diverse and anti-racist.
We are donating $100,000 to immediately support organizations combating racial injustice, including NAACP and the Black Visions Collective. We will also be allocating an additional $1,000,000 to support Black designers through our wholesale, platform and co-manufacturing initiatives, which includes providing design resources, data, mentorship and financial support to create collections for RTR. It is critically important to us that a significant portion of our $1M goes towards launching fashion brands from Black and Brown designers who have not had the investment capital to launch on their own.
For too long, the fashion industry has co-opted the style, inspiration and ideas of Black culture without ensuring that Black people are economically compensated for this. Therefore, we will also support Aurora James’ #15PercentPledge. We are committing today that at least 15% of the fashion talent that we feature and support moving forward are from the Black community, inclusive of the models in our marketing, the ambassadors we use, and the styling talent, photographers, videographers and crews behind the camera.
This is just the start, and we look forward to sharing further details on other plans soon. Our work has just begun. If you’re looking for ways to help and take action right now, here’s a non-comprehensive list of resources that our team has found helpful:
Educate Yourself and Others
- This anti-racism document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein providing articles, books, films, and videos, podcasts and organizations to follow and share with friends, family and colleagues is a good place to start.
- An anti-racist reading list compiled by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. And when buying books to educate yourself and others, buy them from Black-owned bookstores.
- Understand why the “all lives matter” sentiment is problematic.
- Learn how to become a better ally with these 10 steps.
- Talk to your children about protests and racism.
- Use these writing prompts to self-evaluate where your own privilege lies.
- Take Harvard’s 10-minute implicit bias test to learn your level of conscious and unconscious bias on things like light versus dark skin tone preference and many other categories.
- Read 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice and take action.
If You’re Financially Able, Donate
- George Floyd Memorial Fund, started by George Floyd’s brother to cover funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings, and to assist the family in the days to come as they continue to seek justice for George.
- I Run With Maud, a fund started by Ahmaud Arbery’s best friend going towards the fight to ensure justice for Ahmaud is served and that his family has the resources they need.
- Justice for Breonna Taylor, a fund going to support Breonna Taylor’s family as they seek justice.
And if you can, set up recurring donations to further the momentum. Some national institutions listed below:
- The ACLU provides legal services and support for a broad range of people with civil rights complaints.
- The NAACP Legal Defense Fund supports racial justice through advocacy, litigation, and education.
- Fair Fight Action, an organization created by Stacey Abrams to address voter suppression, especially in the states of Georgia and Texas.
- The Bail Project, a nonprofit that aims to mitigate incarceration rates through bail reform.
- Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization working to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back.
- Know Your Rights, an organization founded by Colin Kaepernick that provides education and training in Black communities, recently established a legal fund for Minneapolis protestors.
To help provide more localized support, here’s a list of bail funds organized by state.
Sign Petitions and Call Local Government Officials
- Sign these petitions compiled by Black Lives Matter to bring justice to those who have suffered systemic racism, which include #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd, #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor, #JusticeforAhmaud
- Campaign Zero has a comprehensive guide to policies that aim to correct broken windows policing, excessive force, racial profiling, for-profit policing, and much more. Contact your representatives — at the local, state, and national level — to press them for their plans on ending discrimination in law enforcement. Not sure who to contact? Start here.
Support Businesses Run and Owned by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)
- Use your spending power to support Black-owned businesses. These lists from Vogue and Glamour are a start, from books and beauty to fashion and home decor.
- Get takeout from the Black-owned restaurants in your area. Here are links to ones currently open in NYC, LA and the Bay Area.
- Here are some visual lists of small and Black-owned businesses to follow, engage with and support. The comments have even more recommendations.
Register to Vote, and Vote for Change
- Visit I Am a Voter to register to vote, check your registration status, and get local election reminders.
- Read Former President Barack Obama’s post on how to make this moment a real turning point.
Share (Online or off) Thoughtfully and Intentionally
Don’t be afraid to start conversations. At the same time, post and share with a clear, meaningful purpose. Here are some questions to ask yourself first:
This is an unfinished list that we hope to grow. Head to our Instagram, @renttherunway, and let us know what other resources we should add.
Resources compiled by: Mireille Harper; Lisa Olivera; Rachel Karten; Kat Hong; Soleil Ho; Alyssa Coscarelli; Caroline Kusin Pritchard; Sarah Sophie Flicker; Alyssa Klein; Corinne Shutack for Medium.com; Dr. Ibram X. Kendi for the New York Times; Rachel Elizabeth Cargle for Harper’s Bazaar; Sandee LaMotte for CNN; Akili King and Naomi Elizee for Vogue; @GetClever.