July 20th, 2020
Update on Social Justice Actions
It has been over a month since our June 9 email to you regarding our social justice initiatives. We made several commitments and I would like to give you all an update on what we have done so far. So get ready to read a fairly long email.

1. Match employee donations
For the month of June, we donated $1,000 to organizations that were important to our crew. We matched their donations of almost $452 to the following organization: African Career Education and Resource Center, Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, Feeding America, LGBTQ Freedom Fund, Joy Junction, Black Queer and Intersectional Collective, Silvia Rivera Law Project, Albuquerque! Drop the Weapon, Seed2Need, LGBTQ Freedom Fund, New Mexico Public Interest Group, and BradyPac. We donated the remainder of the money to two organizations selected by our crew as well: New Mexico Transgender Resource Center (NMTGRC) and Seed2Need. In addition, we donated 10% of the Pride shirts sold during the month of June to the NMTGRC.

2. Provide outreach/community space 
To date, we have not had any non-profit organizations focusing on social issues use space in the gym to reach out to our climbers. We have reached out to the League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico to see if they are interested in coming to the gym to assist climbers not registered to vote to do so. However, the members of the league are volunteers and the League office is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you know of any such organizations that may be interested in having a table at the gym, we welcome suggestions from you! 

3. Hire for diversity
After we sent the newsletter on June 9 regarding hiring for diversity, we have received requests from several individuals for a link to our hiring application, which we provided. As you may have read in a previous newsletter, with the expected operation of the North climbing facility, we have opened a few positions and have recently completed a round of hiring. At no point in time have we asked our staff or interviewees to disclose information that can be used to assess diversity and inclusion and we do not plan on doing so in the future. However, some of our team members have recently chosen to self-identify as they are interested to participate as leaders or mentors in various activities we are organizing and we cannot be more grateful for their participation. We will continue to work on expanding the racial, sexual orientation, and gender diversity of the crew while maintaining the high quality standards that you, our customers, expect from Stone Age.

4. Community Outreach
A month ago, we asked you, the Stone Age community members, to help us connect with people of various ethnic heritages who are leaders in their communities and who can advise and work with us on defining actions we can take to make a difference. And you have risen to the occasion! In the days following our newsletter, you contacted us regarding organizations and individuals or groups of individuals who could benefit from exposure to climbing. Some of you have offered to serve as mentors and role models. 

We conducted two Zoom meetings on June 18 and June 19. We also met face to face with some of you, of course, socially distanced! We listened to your thoughts, exchanged ideas, and formulated some actions. At the invitation of one of our members, I also visited the local NMTGRC facility to learn more about this organization. Of note, on May 29, the majority of the Stone Age team participated in a Transgender Training 101, so we all had an opportunity to become more knowledgeable and sensitive on this subject.

5. Events
The enthusiasm of some of our members propelled us into organizing two special event nights. Participation to these events was free for members and we offered a special rate of $12 to everybody else. We also required reservations so we maintained the occupancy restrictions in the gym. The events were:

  • On June 29, the LGBTQ+ Climbers Night; and
  • On July 10, the BIPOC Climbers Gathering.
We are happy to recognize the leadership emerging from both of these groups with plans to connect with more adults, teenagers, and kids to introduce them to climbing. We are so grateful to be part of these efforts by providing a welcoming place of gathering and an affordable way to try climbing for those who may not otherwise be able to experience it. 

In collaboration with these groups we have established that the first Friday of the month will continue to be LGBTQ+ Climbers Night and the second Friday of the month will be the BIPOC Climbers Gathering. 

Stone Age members participate free and can bring first time guests for free as per benefits of their membership. The fee for anybody else is $12 and will continue to include rentals. Contact Cristina for sponsorship opportunities at cristina@stoneagegym.com

6. Collaborations
At the suggestion of two of our members, we met with representatives of local chapters from two organizations:

We discussed opportunities for future collaborations and support and we have to admit, we are really excited to work with them not only in introducing the adventure of climbing to their members, but also in identifying youth interested to incorporate climbing in their lives and as such, become beneficiaries of our scholarships.

7. Mentorship
Lastly, we supported a Latino mentor/climber from Socorro by sponsoring his visit with his teenage guests. This dedicated climber was introduced to the outdoors when he moved to the US to pursue an advanced degree and now wants to share this life-changing experience with underserved youth. This was not the teenagers’ first visit to Stone Age but we were happy to sponsor this outing and provide some belaying and climbing advice.

COVID-19 restrictions are making development of some initiatives more difficult than otherwise. Nonetheless, we are going to continue making progress and keep you updated. We plan to have a page on our new website dedicated to social justice actions, so stay tuned. If you want to get in touch with us, please respond to this email. You can also contact Cristina Radu directly at  cristina@stoneagegym.com .