“At Room & Board we believe in equality for all.” This was the leading sentence of a recent company announcement regarding our disappointment of the passage of HB2 in the North Carolina General Assembly. The HB2 law sets a statewide definition of classes of people who are protected against discrimination and it does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. We shared our public statement on the issue with the Governor of North Carolina, the members of the General Assembly as well as our North Carolina upholstery partners, mill partners and others with which we do business. Our hope is that they formulate their own statement to support the repeal of HB2. Our company does that.
At the store level, we’ve also recently changed the designation of our 4th floor bathrooms so that both are gender neutral. Our customers deserve that.
A few weekends ago, we celebrated Pride here in D.C. The annual Saturday Pride parade ends just two blocks from our store and we traditionally set up big tubs of bottled water on the front sidewalk to pass out cold water to passersby. You can’t imagine the goodwill created by giving a free bottle of cold water to someone on a usually hot and humid day. The sign on the table states: “Room & Board Shares Your PRIDE.” We want to be part of that.
That same weekend, we also heard the news of the terrible shooting in Orlando. This senseless act deeply affected our staff for many days and continues to sit with us. As with other retailers on our street, we have kept the Pride flag in our window in memory of those killed and in solidarity with our local LGBTQ community. We want to do that.
I don’t think that all retailers would take these actions, but Room & Board does. And we do it proactively because we believe in “equality for all”. It’s not a marketing plan or a PR opportunity. It’s something that we believe in from our corporate office to our store locations and I’m very proud of that.