Recently we received a message via social media. The message, while brief, asked us why we had not put out any supporting messages for the current movement sweeping the country in the wake of the George Floyd murder.
To be honest, we were shocked to receive the message. We are proud to be a 100% American company, based on the West Coast of America. The West Coast has become renowned as the home of many of the most innovative sporting goods manufacturers on the planet. Everything from Nike, Converse, Callaway Golf etc are all designed and engineered here. As an American company, we recognize the diversity of our country. But it goes further than that. Our core ownership and management is represented by executives from three different continents and races.
We thought we were secure in the knowledge that we had been one of the first to post a message of solidarity with the nation’s anger at the terrible images we have all become so acutely aware of. As we posted images and messages of support on our Facebook page, we weren’t thinking about our followers on other media who might not see it. Instead we chose a medium we felt would be most suited to convey our message adequately without the need to post videos or risk the dreaded swipe up. We also assumed our hardcore fans would understand that this was not something we were doing in reaction to the country’s outrage, but rather something that is so deeply ingrained in our beliefs as human beings that we felt, it would go without saying where we stood.
Clearly we were wrong.
So for any of you that are new followers, or only see our posts sporadically, let us tell you a little about who we are. Our Founders, Michael and Beverly Sirjani are a mixed race couple (Beverly was born and raised in Europe and Michael is of Middle Eastern descent.) They have a mixed race family and an even more blended extended family. Both Michael and Beverly have been Presidents of other major companies and are equally accomplished in their respective careers. The rest of the Majyk Team is a mix of all kinds of ethnicities, from Asian to Hispanic, Black and White. We are based in Southern California, a melting pot, and we hire women and men equally, with equal pay and equal prospects.
The fact that we even have to say that, in today’s world is abhorrent. Yet we know that not everyone is lucky enough to enjoy the same things that we do. This is nothing to do with politics. Majyk’s own close circle is comprised of both Republicans and Democrats, Independents, Far Leaning Liberals and Conservatives. What we all share in common is our love of horses and a gentleness that we believe all animal lovers share. We have found that, no matter where we travel in the world, the same kind nature and willingness to help each other is evident. From riding cowboy style across the pampas in Argentina, to playing polo in Spain, eventing in Ireland or watching dressage in Germany – we have seen it all and met some extraordinary people along the way. We have been lucky enough to sponsor riders with disabilities in the para Olympics and cheer as our diverse Ambassadors from around the world compete. But what we have learned more than anything is that horse folks are pretty much the same all over the world and we’re all equal when we’re mucking stalls side by side.
The messenger made us stop and think. While we don’t have many ‘people’ images on our web site, the ones we have do depict blond European and American women yes, but also Asian and Middle Eastern models (in fact, one of them is the Founders’ own son.) Interested by the link we had been sent to an article about how underrepresented people of color were across the equine industry, we started to look at other similar companies. Sure enough, we found that many of them did not have much representation.
We all talk about encouraging diversity in our sport, but surely the first step to that is to show people of color riding and competing? Some may argue that. in reality there is a much higher number of white Americans competing in horse sports than other ethnicities, but how about around the world? How about the gauchos of Argentina, where we have been many times to visit the leather manufacturers who provide us with some of the best leathers in the world for our horse boots? How about the Spanish Doma Vacquera riders we have watched effortlessly spinning their horses around in Southern Spain? Recently we were made aware of a program in Chicago that is helping young underprivileged youth in Chicago learn the sport of polo. Many of these young men and women are African American from inner cities who might not ordinarily get the opportunity to learn without access to horses and teachers.
We have always been an inclusive company – its in our very blood and that of our children, but we also realize its not enough just to ‘know’ that about ourselves. We have to help change this industry and make extra sure to include all types of images in our advertising and social media. We are luckier than most in having real fundamental roots of diversity in our company. By our example we hope to be part of the change and help remind everyone that, like horses, we are all created equal and all have something different to offer. We all know that it doesn’t matter if you ride a Quarter horse or a Warmblood, an Arabian or a Thoroughbred, there is something that every horse can shine at given the right opportunities. All they need is someone to believe in them and help them gain access to everything they need to be successful.
Its our collective duty to make sure that the same can be said for people all over the world too. After all, don’t we all deserve to share in this wonderful world of horses?
Are you a minority rider who uses Majyk Equipe products? We would love to hear from you! Please send your images and story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Majyk Sponsored Rider, Anand Patel