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People shouldn't live in fear of gun violence: Levi's

IANS | October 17, 2019 05:05 PM

NEW DELHI:Clothing giant Levi's has taken a stand against gun violence in the US, and has come out with bold statements on this political furore. Speaking to IANSlife, its philanthropic offshoot, Levi Strauss Foundation, said that "people should not have to live in fear of gun violence".

According to the Foundation, it works on the causes of HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ equality, worker rights, worker well-being, and social justice in places where Levi Strauss has a business presence.

Its director Jason Mcbriarty said that the gun violence is "an issue that affects all of us -- all generations and all walks of life".

The San Francisco-based retailer's foundation added that they have committed USD 1 million to support groups working to end gun violence in the US, and have also made partnerships to prevent gun abuse.

"Societies around the world are confronting two divergent paths: take those who are most marginalized and vulnerable among us and vilify, separate, segregate, remove - or put the protection and participation of these groups at the center of our project of democracy."

Mcbriarty added that "in the face of growing political forces that prey on those who are already weak, this is a moment for corporations to play a critical role as a moral compass".

"When a well-known global company like Levi Strauss and Co. uses its voice and leverages its philanthropic capital on the important issues of the day, it paves the way for others to join."

Speaking specifically in the context of LGBTQ rights, the spokesperson reiterated their position as an inclusive workplace, and said equality and nondiscrimination are integral to how they do business.

In this field, Levi's - which has been sourcing from India since 1994 - has also been involved in the fight against AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) in the country.

It said it has invested USD 1.3 million in HIV/AIDS related grants in India, and cites two advocacy groups - Sangram and International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC).

The reason why Levi's has been involved in combating AIDS epidemic also has to do with their business base.

"Our hometown of San Francisco was one of the epicenters of the epidemic in the early 1980s. In response to the growing concern from employees about a misunderstood and potentially fatal disease (while unnamed at the time, it would eventually be called HIV/AIDS), company management stood shoulder-to-shoulder with employees handing out educational materials."

The Foundation made its first HIV/AIDS-related grant in 1982 to support the first AIDS clinic in the world at San Francisco General Hospital-a grant that matched an employee's contribution. It said that they have since contributed more than USD 78 million to organizations around the globe.

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