As a community we demand a total boycott of Black Diamond...
... until they completely sever all ties with Warren B. Kanders and Safariland. We call upon Black Diamond to fulfill the following demands to address and remedy the harm caused by the ten previous years of this affiliation.
HISTORY: On Wednesday, June 3, information about the association between Black Diamond and Warren Kanders of Safariland, LLC, began circulating on social media, particularly on Instagram. It became evident that the individual who earns the most profit from the sale of Black Diamond gear is a tear gas tycoon who has made millions from the sale of crowd control products to the U.S. police.
This revelation inspired a ragtag group of climber-activists to mobilize. On June 3, we created a shareable graphic and a pre-written letter template to encourage our community to speak out against Black Diamond and demand that the company divest from Kanders. Within 24 hours, the letter had been sent thousands of times.
On Friday, June 5, Black Diamond responded to these letters via an Instagram post. They pledged $250,000 in unspecified funds to “support people of color in the outdoors.” In their post, they denied any affiliation between the brand and Warren Kanders.
Their response was misleading. It denied the very tangible ties between BD and Safariland via Warren B. Kanders, the Executive Chairman and majority-shareholder of BDE’s parent company, Clarus Corporation. To clarify these ties, we created this research pamphlet which illuminates the history and severity of these affiliations.
On Tuesday, June 9, in response to mounting pressure from our campaign as well as from groups like Decolonize This Place, Kanders announced that his company Safariland would be selling off their crowd control product lines. We are happy to have gotten his attention. We will be happier when Black Diamond, Clarus Corporation, and Kanders invest in reparations proportionate to the harm they have caused BIPOC for decades.
Since our campaign began on June 3, we have been working with a coalition of 60 diversity-oriented outdoors groups and hundreds of gyms across the U.S. to articulate our expectations for Black Diamond.
On Friday, June 12, we published this letter in response to Black Diamond and to Warren Kanders. We encourage everyone to read the letter, and sign their name in support.
Our call for a boycott will not end until each of the six demands articulated in our letter has been met.
Help us get to 1,000 Signatures!!
Sign the Open Letter to Black Diamond
Black Diamond Equipment:
Thank you for your pledge to invest $250,000 of unspecified funds to support communities of color in the outdoors. But what are you going to do to make sure that Black athletes are still alive by the time your financial support reaches them?
We can no longer ignore the brutality and violence that Black people experience from the combined effect of the state and of white supremacy. The attention to this global issue is thanks to the work of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has raised awareness about the most recent victims of police brutality - George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon Reed, and countless others.
These peaceful demonstrations against gross acts of state-sanctioned murder are being met with further police violence, including the widespread use of tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets. Police are seven times more likely to use force against Black people than against non-Black people; therefore, we have a high degree of confidence that these weapons are being used disproportionately against Black protestors.
Much of the tear gas and other crowd control weapons used by the U.S. police forces are supplied by Warren B. Kanders’ company, Safariland, LLC. While Warren B. Kanders announced on June 9, 2020, his intention to sell off his crowd control product lines, it is not yet clear whether he will receive continuing payments and stock dividends following the sale. It is, however, certain that he will profit from the sale of these product lines. We cannot ignore that he is choosing to profit instead of ending production entirely. Kanders has not taken accountability for the past, present, and future harm caused by these weapons. As such, Black Diamond cannot be relieved of their ongoing and shared accountability due to their affiliation with the Clarus Corporation.
Per their SEC 10-K, Black Diamond is responsible for 87.15% of the total Clarus Corporation Revenue. Between his $350,000 salary and his status as the majority shareholder of Clarus, Kanders pockets $1.9 million dollars annually. Let us make no mistake: he receives more profit from Black Diamond than any other employee or shareholder. The purchases of climbers and outdoor athletes are directly contributing to building the wealth of the man responsible for supplying, via his ownership of the defense contractor Safariland, weapons to the police to be used in violation of the Constitution.
Outdoor athletes and brands alike need to be held accountable for their complicity in war-profiteering and the militarization of the police whose force is disproportionately harming and killing Black people. Black Diamond needs to be held accountable. $250,000 of funds is not enough. To be clear: Clarus Corporation’s revenue for 2019 was $229.4 million, $140 million of which came from Black Diamonda . $250,000 is 0.1% of Black Diamond’s revenue.
For too long the climbing community, which is predominantly white and upper-middle class, has both implicitly and explicitly enabled racism and white supremacy. For too long, the bulk of addressing this violence has fallen on the shoulders of Black and Brown members of the community. They have never been able to opt out of the historical and ongoing trauma of white supremacy. It is time for the rest of us to step up in their support.
As a community we demand a total boycott of Black Diamond goods until they completely sever all ties with Warren B. Kanders and Safariland. This call is not without precedent: in 2019, the then Investment Manager (and now CFO), Simiso Nzima, of CalPERS called for its shareholders to vote against the re-election of Warren B. Kanders as Executive Chairman. Nzima stated that the “demonstrated a lack of responsiveness to multiple...engagement requests to address board composition related to diversity;”indicated that Kanders was unfit to lead a company; and was actively preserving a corporate image which was out of line with the company’s shareholders and customers. A subsequent vote against Kanders was held on June 3, 2020, citing his continued inability to make meaningful change.
We support the calls by CalPERS’s CFO to demand that Kanders is not re-elected as Executive Chairman of Clarus Corporation, and additionally demand that substantial efforts be made to enable Kanders’ stock in Clarus to be sold so that Kanders has no remaining ties to Black Diamond.In order to achieve the removal of Kanders from the board of the Clarus Corporation:
- We call on all retailers to suspend the sale of Black Diamond products.
- We call on all individuals to boycott all Black Diamond products.
- We call on REI members to stand with us and demand that REI suspend current and future orders of Black Diamond equipment.
- Invest money, in the form of a cash donation, in an organization working on the ground to support victims of tear gassing. This includes Black people, protestors and the frontlines, and the Indigenous communities against whom tear gas was used at Standing Rock (e.g. the group Frontline Medics)
- Acknowledge that Sierra Bullets is part of the same enterprise and put measures in place to support victims of gun violence, and especially the families of Black people who have lost their lives due to police-caused gun violence (e.g. The Justice Teams Network)
- Diversify its team: Black Diamond needs more than one athlete of color on its Pro roster. There needs to be Black and POC representation both on the Pro roster, the board, and on the company’s executive leadership team
- Sign the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge
- Institute implicit racial bias testing at the executive level, and especially in the PR, media, and talent acquisition departments
- Black Diamond must publish and pledge its commitment to a long-term strategy to support and nurture BIPOC talent in the outdoor industry. Its initial donation of $250,000 is a meaningful start; however, Black Diamond must be transparent about a long term strategy. We call for the creation of an Executive Level role dedicated to liaising with the communities both internal and external to ensure pathways for the underrepresented are both forged and maintained
Black Diamond must recognize that their public support of the removal of Warren Kanders from Clarus Corporation is only the first step of many on the road to addressing their internal racism and their complicity in racism in the outdoor community. among what needs to be many additional, actionable policies put in to address the company’s internal racism, as well as its historical complicity in racism in the outdoor community writ large.
To this end, we call upon Black Diamond to fulfill the following demands to address and remedy the harm caused by the ten previous years of this affiliation. We will not end the boycott until these demands have been fulfilled:
As co-signers of this letter, gyms and organizations across the U.S. are taking the position that they will no longer welcome clinics or programming held by Black Diamond athletes. These gyms include The Stronghold Climbing Gym, New Orleans Boulder Lounge, Power Company Climbing, Latino Outdoors, Terra Incognita Media, and REI Employees for REAL Change
This letter is additionally co-signed by Indigenous Women Hike, The Brown Ascenders, Climb the Gap, Ambreen Tariq, Founder of Brown People Camping, The Venture Out Project, Vasu Sojitra, Bam Mendiola, Miho Aida, Marinel de Jesus, Esq. of Brown Gal Trekker, Laura Edmondson, Justin Parks of Sending in Color, and Kareemah Batts.
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