June 2, 2020

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter. We see the hurt and pain of our country. We recognize the many demonstrations and protests that have taken place. And we’ve been asking ourselves: what can we as a company do?

We will be closed on Friday, June 12th in honor of the silent marches and Washington State general strike organized by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County. The TOM BIHN crew will receive 06/12 as an additional paid day off.

After the 2016 presidential election, we had open discussions (with translators for each language group) with our employees about their experiences. More recently, we have discussed and grappled with the possibility that some of the TOM BIHN crew may be experiencing increased racism, as Seattle police have reported a rise in crimes against Asian-Americans since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through those experiences, we have learned that one of the most important actions we can take is to listen. Three additional actions that come to mind: donate, learn, and communicate.

We’ve made a donation to The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture — whose new online exhibit Talking About Race is available to all of us. Link is in our profile. It’s an interactive learning exhibit that uses videos, self-reflection exercises, and role playing to help us learn more about bias, being antiracist, community building, self-care, race and racial identity, social identities and systems of oppression, whiteness and the historical foundations of race.

“History is a guide to a better future and demonstrates that we can become a better society — but only if we collectively demand it from each other and from the institutions responsible for administering justice,” Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s founding director and Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, as quoted by The Washington Post.


Lee Morris - June 19, 2020

Keep up the pandering! I agree with Ronald, I’ll find an American made backpack somewhere else.

Curt from Seattle - June 9, 2020

Thank you Tom Bihn… For every bag someone from Chicago didn’t buy, I’ll buy two :-). Happy to support a company that makes the effort.

Ronald from Chicago - June 8, 2020

I will no longer purchase ANY Tom Bihn products until you remove, from your website, the politically pandering slogans supporting a group that encourages the defunding and wholesale abuse of law-enforcement personnel in the United States. (BLM).

ALL LIVES MATTER, and spare me the lecture… you know exactly what that means, as does everyone who understands the English language.

An extremely poor and transparent marketing ploy.

Darcy - CEO - June 8, 2020

@Nadya Hajj @Shep Bostin Thank you for your support.

Darcy - CEO - June 8, 2020

@Giuseppe Thank you for your thoughtful comment and questions. Since you asked, we would like to share with you our various efforts; however, by no means are we saying what we have done is enough. It is just a beginning. We are grateful for the support and encouragement to do more. Over the last fifteen years or so, we have employed people of many races, of the LGBTQ community, of the disabled community as well as the previously incarcerated; we are actively discussing ways we can advertise any future job openings to increase the diversity of our company. We would like you to know that we have largely remained the same size company for many years, as we don’t plan to become a large corporation, so we don’t often have job openings; due to the economic downturn related to COVID-19, we may actually end up becoming a smaller company. Our efforts have included becoming a Certified B Corporation (public score is available; you can see there is a score on diversity, equity, and inclusion under “Community” https://bcorporation.net/directory/tom-bihn), bias & diversity training for our employees, joining 1% For The Planet (climate change, pollution, and other environmental issues often have a disproportionate impact on communities of color), and, more recently, donating our Reusable Cloth Face Masks to various communities and non-profit organizations. Hope this helps to answer and thanks again for the thoughtful questions.

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We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.