As the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain ignited social unrest across the nation this past year, Best Buy employee Maxie Rosenbloom didn’t know where to turn.
As a Black man, he felt present but not seen, heard but not understood. It was emotionally taxing. But then Maxie witnessed professional athletes boycotting their games and leveraging their national platforms to demand change.
“They created a moment where I no longer felt invisible,” he said. “And I thought to myself, ‘What would it take to create a moment of our own at Best Buy?’”
He pitched the idea to company leaders, and that’s how a Day of Unity was born. On Wednesday, Oct. 7, we will come together — all backgrounds, races, religions and abilities — to show that we are one and support social justice.
It will be a chance to learn about the inequities and injustices that have systematically and historically affected people of color. It also means standing by our law enforcement officers and first responders. It’s an opportunity to talk, listen and learn.
“Every Best Buy employee and customer has to feel like they belong,” said Mark Irvin, our chief inclusion, diversity and talent officer. “We are intentional about holding space for all experiences and all perspectives, even when it feels uncomfortable.”
Employees are encouraged to express their support for this important work by wearing specially designed “Together We Are One” t-shirts. In addition to being a part of our official dress code in stores, thousands of store Best Buy leaders will also wear the t-shirt during our virtual Holiday Leadership Meeting this week to show solidarity and unity as we kick off the holiday season.
The t-shirts were created exclusively for Best Buy by RighteouSouls, a Black-owned apparel company in Minneapolis. Customers can purchase one for themselves here.
We are also encouraging all employees — from the corporate office to all our stores across the country — to engage with educational resources to better understand social injustice and systemic racism. We’ve provided resources to employees, including thought-provoking books, videos and documentaries.
A commitment to ‘do better’
Best Buy’s Day of Unity is part of our broader commitment to do better when it comes to taking action to address racial inequalities and injustices.
Here are some of the many ways we’re doing that:
- We’ve created a diverse task force within the company to find and create meaningful change.
- We’re opening our stores late on Election Day, so our store employees have the time they need to cast a ballot in person, if they choose, and make their voices heard during this important time. And we’re also giving paid time off to employees who volunteer to work at the polls on Election Day.
- We’ve committed to creating more than 100 Teen Tech Centers to help bridge the opportunity gap and digital divide for teens in disinvested communities across the country.
- We plan to hire more than 1,000 new employees to our technology team over the next two years, and we’ve committed that 30% of them will be diverse (specifically Black, Latinx, Indigenous and women).
- We signed on as a founding member of the Parity.org ParityPledge in Support of People of Color. It’s a public commitment to interview at least one qualified person of color for every open leadership role that is at the vice president level or higher, including the C-suite and board of directors.
- We announced that Juneteenth will become an official company holiday.
- We’re one of the leaders of a new public-private partnership, called ConnectedMN, that will provide computers and internet access to thousands of youth in our home state.
Click here to read recent news about Best Buy’s commitment to inclusion on diversity.