Welcome to our new monthly series You Inspire Us, where we highlight and honor the people, brands, and ideas pushing us to think and do better as individuals, as a brand, and as a human collective.
“Humanity. We haven’t seen much of that in the last couple years,” announced Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz during his acceptance speech for the 2016 Ripple of Hope Award (given by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization to honor leaders dedicated to social change). It is the beginning, bleak but honest, to an otherwise uplifting, inspired call to arms that we must return to humanity. And Mr. Schultz, we hear ya.
The businessman’s appeal resonates on all levels: that we should consider how our decisions influence the greater good of humanity, from basic individual choices (Where does your food come from? How are your clothes produced?), to large-scale corporate policies and community alliances with the moral responsibility, as Schultz said, “…not to accept the status quo, and not to accept what we know is a direction that is against the grain and against everything we heard tonight that was about compassion, empathy and love, the promise of America and the American dream.”
He ends on a poignant moment, a concept which we at Baby & Company intend to carry with us through the struggles and obstructions on our country’s horizon: ubuntu.
While opening a new store in Johannesburg, South Africa, a city plagued with levels of racism and prejudice not entirely dissimilar from that which exists on our own soil (and a level of poverty beyond what most of us will ever experience), Schultz heard his fresh-faced employees saying a single African word over and over, “Ubuntu.” Getting up the courage to ask what it meant, they replied:
“I am because of you. I am because of you.”
“When I looked up the word, I learned it was also used by Nelson Mandela during the apartheid uprising,” says Baby & Company owner Jill Donnelly. “Its message held strong meaning for me given the political and global crisis we are experiencing at this time. It roughly translates to human kindness, and/or the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.”
Can you image a world in which this existed?
We have no choice.
See Howard Schultz’s full acceptance speech below:
Words by Amanda Zurita.