As board members of Foundation of Hope, we were thrilled to have been invited to attend the Lush Cosmetics pre-launch event of a fantastic new soap product that has been crafted specifically for a campaign that will run from June 25th to July 4th, 2015. The event highlighted the new Love Soap, a beautiful bar of soap that prominently features #GAYISOK in gold letters.
Honestly, it’s beautiful. The bar is beautiful. The scent is beautiful. The sentiment is beautiful. But what is most beautiful is that the company plans to raise 250,000 pounds, all of which will be directed to LGBT+ groups through grants from ALL OUT . Many of these groups currently lack the resources needed to meet the challenges to a right to live equitably as an LGBT+ individual. And many are in constant danger because they challenge the status quo. This cooperative venture with ALL OUT will mean that millions more individuals will be able to learn about this human rights crisis and will know that money from their soap purchases will be directed to groups via an organization that is fighting for love, equality, and acceptance throughout the world.
So that’s the good news! The tragic news about this campaign is that about 100 Lush shops around the world will be unable to participate due to anti-gay legislation in their country. Clearly, when it is a crime to be gay in 76 countries, there is a huge amount of work left to be done.
There are still 825 Lush shops around the world with kick-off campaigns on June 25th, at which time the soap will also be available for purchase online.
As for the Vancouver pre-launch event, it is truly wonderful to see and experience the pride of Lush employees and their strong willingness to participate in this initiative. Imagine working for a company with such a bold and caring vision. Lush is committed to being one of these companies.
The energy in the store was riveting when the speakers, such as Brandi Halls, Director of Brand Communications for Lush, provided a comprehensive overview of the campaign and Lush’s relationship with ALL OUT. In listening to her, it was clear that the campaign is a hugely passionate endeavour. Foundation of Hope Board Director Dr. Hasan Abdessamad explained the role of FOH in financially assisting organizations with the challenges of transition for refugees that come to Canada upon being persecuted in their countries of origin. Former refugees Zdravko Cimbaljevic and Moe Sonko also told their stories of how they endured the hatred in their home countries simply for being gay, which ultimately forced them to leave in order to survive. As refugees, they believe that getting their message out provides hope and empowers others. Their stories clarify why the work being done by Lush and ALL OUT is so powerful and so necessary.
Click to view Dr. Abdessamad’s speech.
Click to view Mr. Sonko’s speech.
Click to view Mr. Cimbaljevic’s speech.
When a company like Lush Cosmetics commits itself to such a powerful endeavour, it is quite simply heartwarming. And Lush is moving way beyond the production of a beautiful soap. They are part of a movement that is spreading love and acceptance.
The Foundation of Hope is pleased that we are a trusted ally and were invited to participate in this event. We are particularly pleased that LUSH and FOH plan to continue this conversation and collaboration.