Levi Strauss takes stand on violence with funds for gun control groups

By Ed Adamczyk
Levi Strauss announced this week action to fight gun violence in the United States. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
Levi Strauss announced this week action to fight gun violence in the United States. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The chief executive of clothier Levi Strauss has pledged to take a stand against gun violence in the United States, and is urging others in the business arena to follow suit.

The company said its new "Safer Tomorrow Fund" will donate $1 million over four years to nonprofit organizations and youth groups working to end gun violence.


The company said it's also partnering with gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety and other executives to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety. Levi Strauss said it will double all donations made by employees to the company fund.

The initiatives were announced by CEO Chip Bergh in an op-ed published by Fortune magazine on Tuesday.

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In the column, Bergh cited an incident in which a Levi's customer accidentally shot himself in a store in 2016. Bergh said his request to keep firearms out of stores -- even in states where legal -- brought "threats to our stores, our business, and even on my life."

"As president and CEO of a values-driven company that's known the world over ... I take the responsibility of speaking up on the important issues of our day very seriously," he wrote.


Bergh said the company's plan isn't an assault on the Second Amendment, but rather advocacy of "common-sense, measurable steps," like criminal background checks on all gun sales.

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The opinion piece came the day after Nike unveiled an advertising campaign featuring former NFL quarterback and social activist Colin Kaepernick. It was Kaepernick who initiated a movement in 2016 to kneel during the playing of the national anthem prior to football games as a protest against perceived police brutality against African Americans.

The action by Levi's also follows bans of gun sales by many retailers, including Dick's Sporting Goods,. Kroger's and Walmart.

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