A Letter to Associates from Terry Roberts, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer

We are a family. It is so important that we look after our fellow associates and stand up for the values that make us a great company.  Today, we announced a partnership with Open to All. Open to All is a non-profit organization that believes everyone should feel safe, respected and accepted as they live, shop, and work.

AEO first joined with Open to All last spring when we wanted our associates, customers and communities to know that we stood strongly against the Anti-Asian discrimination that was becoming all-too-common place during this pandemic. It was abhorrent then and beyond upsetting that it has continued into 2021 as many of us have seen the recent acts of violence against those of Asian descent on TV and social media. It is even more hurtful for so many of us that are still processing the violence that we witnessed and spoke out against during 2020.

Times of crisis often bring out the best in people. The way in which AEO rose to the moment in 2020 and acted with caring, optimism and resilience is proof of that.  However, we also know that such moments also bring out those that do not share our values.  Whether it is the acts of hate during this pandemic, or those that occurred against Muslims in the aftermath of September 11th, the scourge of anti-Semitism and so many others throughout our history we all must stand up and show solidarity with those that are facing these attacks.

We will continue to listen to those in the Asian community, including within AEO, to ensure that their voices are centered and we are supporting them not in a performative way, but one which is authentic and meaningful. AEO is an inclusive company that believes in the Power of People.  As we continue to navigate these difficult times, if we walk the road together I am sure the future is bright.

Take care,

Terry