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  • Avery Johnson

Summer activism found some new allies in local business

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

2020 was a year for the history books, and it opened many eyes to the ugliness and inequality in the world and led to protests across the globe for equality.

When the ball dropped on January 1st, 2020, people set goals and resolutions like usual.

They hoped to make improvements from 2019.

Nobody could have predicted the nearly immediate turn of life changing events.

First it was the wildfires in Australia (46 million acres and 1.25 billion animals), then the United States killing a top Iranian general (which brought concern - real and imagined - of another world war.

And by just the end of January, the United States had impeached its president for only the third time in history.

But then the thing that the public did not see coming, came. The COVID-19 global pandemic forced people into isolation from friends and family for months, and made wearing a mask a political issue.

So when the blatant and public murder of George Floyd emerged across the country on social media, the stage was set for protest and activism. Americans were tired and angry and sick, and they took to the streets to say so.

And with that came pressure to say something as a company, or face repercussions if you said nothing at all or said the wrong thing.

It wasn’t as though violence, hatred, and racism suddenly got much worse in 2020 compared to recent years, but people finally chose to acknowledge it - and take a stance on it.

And that wasn’t just the case for individuals. It was the case for companies too.

Laura Peterson of Ben and Jerry’s and Charleston activist KJ Kearney spoke to me about how companies are getting publicly involved in the political and social scene and what impact that is having.

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