Commitment to Fight for Racial and Social Justice
The fight for social justice is a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve been training for this marathon for years at VC, but it’s time that we get into the race.
“It’s a privilege to learn about racism instead of experiencing it your whole life.”
Ahmed Ali, @MrAhmedurAli
We have not done enough as an organization to dismantle the systems of white supremacy that we are a part of and that we have gained privilege from. Systemic violence and racism experienced by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in Canada, the United States and around the world must be denounced to claim values of inclusivity and Spirit of the Game as a community.
VC Ultimate must do better. We must take responsibility to educate ourselves on the history and current state of all forms of systemic racism. Like most in the ultimate community, we have been shielded by, and beneficiaries of, white privilege. This is manifested in our near exclusive focus in the spheres of gender equality and environmental stewardship. We realize that all of these issues are connected and that intersectionality is a crucial lens from which to understand these issues, and that working to dismantle persistent systemic racism must be a fundamental component in our activism.
George Floyd was murdered by police four weeks ago, causing the wider world of white people to awaken to racial injustice. George Floyd’s death was one of thousands by hands of law enforcement in the last decade. It’s time for individuals and organizations alike to take responsibility for their own education, and stand up for racial justice in significant ways - starting by increasing the investment in, and power of, BIPOC voices and tearing down systems that oppress BIPOC; including defunding the police and reallocating resources to support communities.
We also need to address the ways in which BIPOC community members may not feel safe and welcome in our own sport.
1) Reinvest at least 10% of our annual revenue into ultimate organizations and initiatives. We will present an audit and invite community feedback.
We must be accountable to do the best job possible to ensure that these funds have created a more inclusive community, encouraged equitable action or directly supported BIPOC players or groups. This money must not perpetuate an oppressive system.
Since 2018, VC has contributed over $630,000 to ultimate organizations, associations and teams, which represents 12% of our annual revenue for the period. We need to commit to assessing the impact of that contribution and learning how we can do better.
2) Support Black Lives Matter, Indigenous and POC organizations with cash.
In addition to the 10% of revenue reinvested into our community, we pledge to donate an additional 1% of our revenue each year* to non-profit organizations directly linked to Black Lives Matter, and/or to organizations focused on LGTBQIA2S+ support including youth programs in Black, Indigenous and POC communities.
We are hiring experts to identify organizations to support with this monetary contribution.
*1% of revenue can be over $20,000 in a good financial year
3) Contribute a portion of every sale of any product that has any roots in a fight for equality.
The commodification of the culture of marginalized people cannot continue.
We will not continue to sell various apparel featuring rainbows without donating a portion of those sales to queer initiatives, equitably prioritizing the most severely marginalized people in the movement, such as Black Transgender women.
We are currently updating our rainbow designs to be based on the 2018 Pride Flag to better represent anti-racism.
4) Build a diverse Board of Directors.
Having gone through recent ownership and structural changes, the VC Ultimate Board of Directors includes two white people: CEO Adriana Withers and one of the original founding partners, Ben Unsworth.
We are committed to increasing the number of board members to at least 5 by our 2021 annual general meeting. We are committed to having at least two of these new paid Director positions occupied by individuals identifying as Black, Indigenous or POC.
We have begun this process by committing to invest in an equity consultation to ensure this process is as inclusive as possible.
5) Invest in and amplify BIPOC community members’ voices and initiatives.
We are committed to offering our social media platforms to BIPOC community members, without restrictions, for a portion of each month for as long as our platforms exist.
Any platform contributions will be paid. It is our belief that it is unjust for white-owned organizations to be profiting from free work being done by our BIPOC community members.
Last but not least, we also pledge to:
- Pressure our partners, such as the WFDF, Ultimate Canada and USA Ultimate, to join us in our efforts to be better allies in doing anti-racism work
- Insist on a focus of inclusivity and active investment in the engagement of BIPOC community members in every partnership.
- Be committed to learning more about how we can continue to evolve ourselves into better allies.
While we are committed to being a company who focuses on supporting and actively doing work for social and racial justice, we also strive to produce the best apparel for our community. In fact, we need to sell apparel in order to exist as a company, and to be able to make an impact and fulfill these commitments.
We hope that you will support us when choosing a partner for your ultimate apparel needs, and allow us to run this race together.
We are here for this. There is more to come. Together, we can be an example of what it means to be a community that truly stands up for social and racial justice.