To our community,
At the end of last week, online comments, written emails, and video footage by CrossFit, Inc. CEO and Owner Greg Glassman brought a swift response of outrage from CrossFit affiliates, companies with CrossFit partnerships, top-level athletes and members within the CrossFit community. The Power House is one of those voices, and we will always position ourselves on the side of social justice, inclusivity, kindness, and progress. The comments were racist, wrong, toxic, and so so far from the type of leadership we need at this time, especially from a company based on improving the health and wellness of people around the world.
Glassman’s comments and demeanor are that of a bully, and taking down a bully is a multifaceted job. First, you address the damage to the victim(s) and their immediate physical, mental, and emotional safety. As we have stated and will continue to state, The Power House stands with Black Lives Matter, Justice for George Floyd and against any exclusion that the sport of CrossFit (or our business) has had for People of Color, trans and gay athletes, and anyone who has felt fitness was an elite club in which they did not belong. We also stand with the brave whistleblowers who put their professional standing and reputations on the line to bring the truth to light.
Second, if the bully is in a position of power, they should be removed. We have signed a petition to call for Glassman’s resignation of his CEO role of CrossFit, Inc. in order for new, diverse, and inclusive leadership to make its way forward. Given that he is 100% owner of the company, though, it’s complicated and does not address this serious situation effectively enough at this time.
Third, you remove the platform that elevates the bully’s opinions, and in a capitalistic society, you enact change with your wallet. You remove the audience, and you take away the funding. This is where The Power House MN and hundreds of other affiliates and prominent athletes come in. The Power House will not renew our two affiliate contracts with CrossFit, Inc and we end all professional ties to the company effectively immediately. The use of the brand CrossFit and our participation in CrossFit events like the Open were always secondary to the real work we do each day- improving health and longevity through exercise and lifestyle, creating career coaching opportunities for passionate fitness professionals, and building a strong and welcoming community that dares greatly in the pursuit of winning their lives. Absolutely nothing changes with this announcement, only that we are more committed than ever to fulfilling it and expanding its reach to more human beings in the Twin Cities.
Fourth, healing and reparations must take place in order to move forward. When our scheduled dues are owed, Power House will use its $6k affiliation fees to pay local POC/women/LGBTQ-owned organizational consultants to help us create and implement an anti-racism plan, plus donate to The Sanneh Foundation direct services working with under-served children and families in the Twin Cities, building a formal relationship that helps our joined missions of empowering people, improving lives, and uniting communities. We are committed to doing the introspective work on how to dismantle racism, gender, and sexual orientation discrimination in fitness and sport (and the role we play in it), taking action on things as small and large as:
- continuing relief funds and delivering goods for Minneapolis residents in the wake of our city’s damage
- work with other Minnesota affiliates to hire local organizational consultants to create and implement an anti-racism action plan for our business
- welcoming and inclusive signage in and on our buildings
- using our social media platform to call attention to important social justice issues
- access to services through scholarships, sliding scale fees, and free community classes
- pro-bono services and volunteer work with local organizations
- deliberate recruitment of POC for internships and employment
- support fitness owners and operators from marginalized groups who seek our expertise
- working when possible with minority-owned vendors
- partner with other businesses that serve kids and families of color, such as The Sanneh Foundation and existing relationships with the Saint Paul Blackhawks Soccer Club
- implementing a zero-tolerance policy of discrimination for all staff, clients, and partners of The Power House
- center voices from the margins, especially as it pertains to health, in the format of Town Halls, book clubs, special events, and our podcast.
- Get uncomfortable
- Stay the course
There is a saying in my Jewish faith tradition which states, “You are not obligated to finish the work; neither are you free to desist from it.” We are just one little fitness business in the Twin Cities, but to us, The Power House is our home and a symbol of wellbeing, community, and teamwork. No brand or wayward CEO can match kindness, love, empathy, and righteousness. We are proud to stand with other Minnesota affiliates and affiliates around the world when we say, goodbye CrossFit.
We appreciate your support and continued patronage immensely,
Jill & Max Lipset and The Power House Team