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A Letter from Our Founders: Why We’re Encouraging All Companies To Honor Juneteenth

June 17, 2021

5 Min read

To our Prose community, 

On June 19, 1865 (more than 155 years ago), Major General Gordon Granger announced slavery was abolished in the United States and African Americans were finally able to live in freedom. This was an extremely pivotal moment in U.S. history, leading to the national recognition of Juneteenth. 

This time last year was also a pivotal moment in U.S history, as we, unfortunately, continued to witness the brutal effects of racism on Black and BIPOC communities. This time, however, we saw a majority of the country unite against the systemic racism that permeates throughout society. As companies, brands and individuals from all walks of life continued to stand in solidarity with Black communities, a moment of accountability prevailed when Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts of the murder of George Floyd. While this moment showed us that support and peaceful protesting can turn into concrete actions, it’s not a substitute for justice and there is still a lot of work to be done to eradicate systematic racism, build equity for the disenfranchised, and prevent future tragedies and injustice.

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Supporting diversity, equity and inclusion is a founding principle of Prose. We founded the company to make products where everyone is welcome. We have always strived to create a company that puts the care of the unique needs of the individual first, and to nurture a culture where we embrace and advance diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Our goal is to create an inclusive environment for everyone. We have a responsibility and opportunity to do more to promote equitable communities. That is why last year, we made a public commitment to continue to focus on evolving our efforts when it comes to DEI, to show you that we’re turning our discussions and learnings into concrete actions. 

As we pursue greater inclusion, diversity and equity at Prose, we do so guided by a commitment to [three principles]: advancing towards set goals, doing so with transparency, and accountability. A critical part of our commitment to transparency is publishing a factual and honest review of our DEI journey and tracking progress so we can focus on areas where we can improve and advance this important agenda. This is why we want to provide you with another update on what we’ve been able to accomplish in the past 12 months and our ongoing efforts.

Prose Diversity + Inclusion Action Plan (as of June 2021)

The progress we’ve made: 

  • We formed a DEI council to foster a more inclusive workplace and customer experience, and now the council meets twice a month 
  • We devoted $50K towards the care and well-being of our Black and BIPOC employees through multiple supportive programs (check out WITH)
  • We formed our first Employee Resource Group (ERG) called Proud, for LGBTQIA employees and allies 
  • We shifted from “culture fit” to “culture add” evaluation within our hiring practices 
  • We are building the framework for a leadership mentor program
  • We expanded our hiring platforms to be more diverse, in an effort to source from a wider pool of candidates 
  • We started to match employee donations to charitable organizations, up to $100K annually 
  • We started conducting unbiased recruitment training 

What we’re continuing to do (in addition to the above): 

  • Host regular team-wide discussions of topics that affect underrepresented voices 
  • Launch new Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) 
  • Finalize the development of our leadership mentor program
  • Continue conducting unbiased recruitment training 
  • Continue to match employee donations to charitable organizations, up to $100K annually 
  • Continue to track diversity representation across our marketing channels 
  • Continue to work with businesses owned by Black, BIPOC, women and other underrepresented groups and track how often we do

As a Certified B Corporation, we’re committed to using our business as a force for good and will continue to use our platform to accelerate wider change in inclusion. This commitment reflects not just who we strive to be as a company but it lets talent thrive and will fuel the future success of our business.

So what are we doing to recognize Juneteenth this year?

At Prose, we recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday and give our entire staff the day off. We encourage our employees across all of our offices, to celebrate and/or educate themselves about the holiday and Black cultures overall.

This year, we’re partnering with PsychoHairapy to celebrate the growing literacy, cultural significance, and importance around Black natural hair styling, while recognizing the particularly stressful impact of the past year on Black communities. 

Founded by clinical psychologist and hairstylist Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, PsychoHairapy certification equips stylists, barbers, beauty professionals and educators with the skills to  administer culturally-informed mental health first aid to anyone who sits in their chairs, and provides a therapist directory so beauty professionals can refer their clients to mental health professionals in their area. 

To help provide further education around the connection between mental health and hair care for Black communities, we are donating $10K to sponsor PsychoHairapy scholarships. These scholarships allow beauty professionals to learn directly from Dr. Afiya, who provides necessary tools and education to help them identify signs of mental distress in their clients, administer mental first aid, and refer distressed clients to licensed mental health professionals. We believe that the more beauty professionals are able to meet their Black and BIPOC clients’ very personal needs, the more rewarding (and healing) the haircare experience will be for all.

Supporting Black communities while increasing diversity across the Prose organization when it comes to sexual orientation, age, gender,physical ability, neurodiversity, and more is not a “mission accomplished” goal, it’s an ongoing, long-term goal that we’re prioritizing and discussing on a regular basis. 

We encourage other leaders and brands to not only use their platforms to fight for necessary change but to recognize Juneteenth as a company-wide holiday. Together, we can all make a positive difference. 

Arnaud, Paul + Nicolas, Co-Founders of Prose

For more updates on our progress, please visit Prose.com/values-and-impact

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