I have always thought of myself as a behind the scenes person–someone creative who communicates by making clothes that, in turn, empower others to express themselves. Public speaking has never been my particular talent, and when I attempt it, my voice gets shaky. But being silent now is not an option, and simple statements of solidarity with Black Lives Matter is not enough. Direct action and the commitment to changing an unjust society is required by everyone.
I personally attribute the success of our small company to the talented and diverse group of people that compose it. In every aspect of our team, including our senior leadership, we have a multiplicity of voices and backgrounds that regularly bring an engaged and thoughtful standpoint to many of the issues that our society confronts today, and that we face as a business. We take our responsibility seriously, and as such, we are always striving to challenge and think through notions of beauty, strength, and representation. We do and will continue to feature models inclusive of all races, genders, ages and sizes.
Going forward, we will look for even greater ways to confront the structural racism at the heart of this society, and we will continue to question our business practices and our contribution to our community. To this end, we acknowledge and support the very real change we need to see for the lives of people of color. This is an ongoing conversation for us, and one that will remain a priority. We realize that we don’t have all the right answers, but hope that we can learn and make meaningful progress together. We believe in an open discourse, and welcome your thoughts and suggestions for us to do more.
In solidarity with Black Lives Matter and other groups at the forefront of this struggle, these are the immediate actions we are taking:
1/ Participate in peaceful protests and make that time available for anyone on the team to also do so.
2/ Sign and share petitions in support of Black Lives Matter and the various action groups enacting change, organizing and raising funds. Here are a few:
3/ Join in this virtual Town Hall tonight produced by the https://naacp.org/
4/ Join the actions to call on congress to enact HR 40, a bill that establishes the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans. The commission shall examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. Among other requirements, the commission shall identify (1) the role of federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, (2) forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) lingering negative effects of slavery on living African-Americans and society.
We have a democratic controlled congress! Call your rep to make sure they are supporting.
5/ Support organizations working for voting rights initiative, voter registration, and the end of voter suppression. I am paticularly interested in electing pro-choice democratic women to office as I strongly believe women in elected offices will make change quicker for all people of color. We also will continue to give PTO for voting, which many companies shamefully do not.
6/ Raise our voices to support criminal justice reform, end police violence, build police accountability, and end mass incarceration.
7/ For the month of June, we will be donating 10% of our profits to the NAACP.
Thank you to the community and customers that we serve, thank you to my incredible team. Thank you all for raising your voices and sharing your actions with all of us. We will learn from you and continue to take actions on our own. Together, we will end the systemic racism and oppression experienced by people of color everyday in this country.