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Sassa Akervall
June 09, 2020

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter. Period.

As a bystander, a business owner, a mother, and a wife, I am genuinely appalled over the recent police brutalities against black people. I am white. I am privileged. And I know that. But I am also a woman, a member of a minority and a naturalized citizen of this country that I love so much. It breaks my heart to watch the news. It breaks my heart to see all the pain. It breaks my heart that I have brought up two children to a world, where we are still – in spite of all advantages and innovations, all science and technologies, all the wonderful things that exist in this world – where we were hundreds of years ago. Will we never learn from history?

When some of our trusted partners reached out to us to ask why we hadn’t taken a stand in the BLM movement, I wanted to make a point by posting a quote that I have held close to my heart since the day I read it. It was written by Elie Wiesel, the wonderful author and Nobel prize winner. As a Holocaust survivor, he had been the victim of brutalities unimaginable to an ordinary person. I thought my quote would be a wise response. I thought it would make sense.

It did not. It did not hit home with some of our friends, and for that I apologize.

I would like to share with you what I sent to one of our roller derby fans, a group that carried us as a business for years when we first started out. I owe them so much. It pains me that I did not take the opportunity to clarify how important the Black Lives Movement is to us here at the company. Here is what I wrote:

“At SISU, we regard every human being the same way regardless of race, color, gender, religion or sexual orientation. I, myself, belong to a minority so I know far too well what it is like to be the target of attacks. That is why I love the quote we put up last week, because it really addresses the core of the issue, indifference. Indifference is what has brought us to where we are today, regardless if you are in the United States or elsewhere in the world. We could all be more aware, and we could all do better. Much better!Of course, we support the movement right now. Black Lives Matter! It is heartbreaking to watch what is going on every day around us. As a small company we have always tried to help in a way that is possible for us. We sponsor foundations and organizations around the country, and we try to do that with a purpose and a heart, always being true to our values. “

This may not mean a lot to some of you. But it comes from my heart. We need to do better, all of us. So here is my pledge to you:  SISU will update our mission statement and vision to be more engaged in matters that have a direct impact on black lives.  Starting in our own backyard, our leadership team is working on a program that will help support our Michigan Public Schools that do not have the necessary access to resources for their sports programs. You are welcome to send me additional suggestions. I know I want to make sure our company does more than we have previously done.

Thank you for reading.


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