Patagonia intends to stand for more than warm coats and good socks.
In March, the state of Georgia passed a bill into law packed with measures to restrict voting access. It limits early voting for those who cannot adjust their work schedules, absentee voting for those who cannot reach a polling place, and removes nearly half of the drop-box locations in the state. It also applies very strict new standards to voter identification which violate voter privacy, and gives the historically-Republican state legislature the power to reject voting results. Most notoriously, it makes it a crime to distribute food or water to those waiting in long lines to vote.
Many have criticized the new law as being an intentional effort to suppress marginalized voters. President Biden compared it to Jim Crow laws, calling it “un-American” and “sick.”
Many companies and organizations have raised their voices to condemn the bill. Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, the two largest employers in the state, made statements. Major League Baseball is boycotting Georgia over it by removing their All-Star Game from the state.
Patagonia, the outdoor-outfitter company, is expressing their disapproval, and calling for other companies to join them in a three-fold plan.
“First: Fund the activists working to challenge the recently passed laws in Georgia, and support voting registration efforts,” wrote CEO Ryan Gellert. Patagonia will be donating $1 million to be split between the Black Votes Matter Fund and the New Georgia Project, two voting-rights organizations.
Second, he called for companies to speak up, to contact senators in states where they do business and demand they support voting rights.
Third, he called for businesses to demand action from their business partners, and to not support other businesses which sided against voting rights.
“Opting to stay silent while the constitutional rights of voters in Georgia and across our country are being threatened is tantamount to supporting these unjust laws,” Gellert said in his statement. “Our colleagues, clients and customers won’t forget what we do in this moment.”
Image: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com