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Levi Strauss teams up with gun control group: ‘We simply cannot stand by silently’
American denim giant Levi Strauss & Co. announced Tuesday that it is launching a series of new initiatives to benefit groups working to prevent gun violence.
Levi Strauss's CEO and President Chip Bergh wrote in Fortune on Tuesday that the company "simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work."
"You may wonder why a company that doesn't manufacture or sell guns is wading into this issue, but for us, it's simple," Bergh wrote. "Americans shouldn't have to live in fear of gun violence. It's an issue that affects all of us - all generations and all walks of life."
Bergh said it was his responsibility to speak up for important issues since he leads a "values-drive company that's known the world over as a pioneer of the American West and one of the great symbols of American freedom."
He added that he is not advocating to repeal the 2nd Amendment nor calling gun owners irresponsible.
"We can't insulate ourselves from every threat," Bergh wrote. "We can't 'harden' every place we gather - whether it be our schools, workplaces, shops, churches, or entertainment venues. But we can take common-sense, measurable steps - like criminal background checks on all gun sales - that will save lives."
Levi's, therefore, announced a new three-tiered initiative to support gun violence prevention.
The company will donate more than $1 million over the next four years to nonprofits and youth activists that work to end gun violence, establishing the "Safer Tomorrow Fund."
The blue jean manufacturer also partnered with gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety and other executives to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety.
Bergh called the group a coalition of business leaders who "believe, as we do, that business has a critical role to play in and a moral obligation to do something about the gun violence epidemic in this country."
Levi's will also double all donations made by their employees to the Safer Tomorrow Fund.
Bergh acknowledged that the decision to advocate for gun control is a controversial one.
"While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option," he wrote.