Black Lives Matter
At Paper Source, we condemn racism and stand with the African-American community, unequivocal in the belief that Black Lives Matter. We are united that we must bring justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Laquan McDonald and the many others whose senseless killings are a tragic reminder of the social injustice and institutional racism that exists in our country.
We pride ourselves on being a diverse company headquartered in the diverse & vibrant city of Chicago. Our leadership team is 33% people of color, 25% African-American, and 50% female. But we have taken a hard look at ourselves over this past week, asking tough & uncomfortable questions about where we clearly haven’t done enough to be an active part of the change.
We are committed to the following actions to contribute, educate, enrich and sustain:
- Our leadership team and board have donated to the following organizations: NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Chicago Community Bond Fund and My Block, My Hood, My City (the latter two committed to social justice & community development in Chicago).
- We are working in Chicago, Minneapolis, New York and Los Angeles to clean up and rebuild, not just our Paper Source stores but providing supplies & hands-on-support to local small businesses needing to rebuild.
- We have evaluated the vendors whose products we carry and see a clear opportunity to sell more product from makers who are people of color. We will also be expanding the books we sell to feature children’s books about race and those featuring diverse characters.
- We are creating and printing an original art print, 100% of the sales for which will go to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. We have plans for this to become an on-going series featuring art from diverse artists, with 100% of proceeds going to arts education & supplies in Chicago public schools.
- We already volunteer with and donate art supplies to local Chicago public schools but we want to expand on these programs with more schools and more volunteers to have greater impact.
- We have signed petitions for the Black Agenda 2020 and Color of Change and will be working across our team to volunteer and support get out the vote efforts leading up to the November 2020 election.
- We will provide educational information on key organizations our customers can donate to, learn from and join. These digital resources will be provided on our website and via our social media platforms.
- We also want to make sure our actions aren’t limited to a singular moment but can bring about longer-term change. We are immediately assembling an internal diversity task force to conduct a listening tour across our company, to develop new diversity training tools and recommend additional actions we can take.
Standing by in silence is simply not an option. The stakes are too high. We are not perfect and have more work to do but are committed to doing that work and being a positive force for change and social justice.