Let’s address the elephant in the room. We’re a streetwear brand, so the question might be why we’re getting involved. Foremost, hip-hop, street culture, and streetwear have always been political. For this reason among many others, we endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders.
It’s always been political.
The G.I. Bill (1944) and the actions taken by the Federal Housing Association following World War II had continued to reinforce pre-established racial inequality in America. Benefits like education and housing were not granted to colored veterans as they were with their Caucasian counterparts despite their shared service. This inequality would eventually continue to displace and separate people along financial and geographic lines, as well as lines of color. As the suburbs of Levittown arose seemingly overnight, in it’s shadow, neglected public housing complexes did too.
As history would have it, it was there, in the many projects scattered across New York City where the feelings of disenfranchisement gave birth to hip-hop — to art, music, and dance, to street culture and streetwear. It’s always been political.
Despite being a rarity in the realm of streetwear, we’ve tried to bring people closer together rather than further apart.
Whether it’s the hope for individuals to achieve their dreams, or the courage to speak openly, we’ve always had others in mind — compelled to take action and be the voice of those whose interests are encroached upon.
For over 50 years, Bernie has championed the same cause. Organizing protests against his college housing facilities and marching historically alongside the late-Dr. King, Bernie rose against segregation. His political track record is one characterized by a deep passionate disdain for social injustice and the status quo — supporting the passing of policies that fought to give silenced groups such as women, the LGBT community, and other minority groups equality.
Our history has taught us that nothing is ever set in stone until it indefinitely is. We ended the legal separation of race. We ended the treatment of women as second-class citizens. We’ve learned that at any moment in time, the people who cared enough about progress could change history. This is one of those moments.
Because we can.
The current state of our country’s political landscape begs discussion. Let’s put aside the notion of having the first female president, the first Jewish president or the first president of any kind and focus on the issues that are more pressing.
It has become increasingly difficult for the everyday American to maintain their standard of living. Although recovery has made way under the Obama administration, the recession of 2008 and its subsequent ripple effects of debt, unemployment, and poverty continue to run its course for the less-fortunate. Throughout the course of his political career, Bernie has advocated for the poor and the middle class — the people he’s represented in office for the last 45 years and not big corporations.
Bernie’s presidential campaign has refused to take money from corporate donors. Funded only by the people, it, in and of itself, is an exercise in democracy in its truest form.
It’s clear to us that mass corporate media has chosen to block Bernie’s efforts to bring about progressive change because of his outspoken unwillingness to be influenced by crony capitalism. The rhetoric used by the media is an attempt to minimize his platform — painting it as repetitive and single-issue. While Bernie’s battle against Wall Street corruption is his primary focus, it is an issue that touches upon the lives of the vast majority of Americans, if not all — one undoubtedly worth fighting for.
Having knowledge of this, arriving at this point was still not easy for us. Although our initial and visceral reactions were to make an immediate statement, we felt hesitant.
We created STEADY because we wanted to express ourselves — because we could create what we couldn’t already find in stores, be a part of something that we weren’t already a part of, and speak and be heard in ways we couldn’t before.
“Is it ok for us to pick a side? Is this the right forum for this?” The answer is yes. STEADY is an expression of our beliefs no matter the backlash or the consequences. And we intend to fight tooth-and-nail for it.
We understand that our decision to support Bernie may not prove to be the most popular nor profitable choice for us to make. It may mean we don’t get the business of some because our views don’t align, and that’s one way to see it. However, that’s not how we choose to see it. They say just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should. But today, we will.
STEADY endorses Bernie Sanders.