Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting in on a town hall style meeting coordinated by Hello Seven on the topic of reimagining small business to build more equitable antiracist organizations. And while it was certainly geared towards larger scale small businesses, there was so much I was able to take away from the session for my own small shop.
At the end of the town hall, I took a pledge to do better. The pledge includes naming white supremacy and the impact of racism in both my professional and personal life, engaging in anti-racist education, committing to open-conflict and allowing discomfort, investing a portion of my company budget on the Black community, and expressing my sincere long-term commitment to being and anti-racist organization. This blog post is my first step in living that pledge out.
I acknowledge that white supremacy has been supported by my company. Through the suppliers I’ve chosen and the opportunities I’ve been presented with, white supremacy is a toxic force I’ve long ignored. To combat this, I am actively seeking out a new supply chain for my biggest consumables – paper and packaging. I will be working to source supplies from Black and minority owned businesses, whenever possible. I will be purposefully looking for and promoting Black voices on my social media channel. And vow that when it is time to grow outside of my basement, hiring diverse employees will be prioritized.
I also want to put my money where my mouth is, so for the month of June I committed to seeking out and donating to various Black advocacy groups, accumulating to 10% of my total profits. Today I’d like to share what organizations I donated to:
First up, Reclaim the Block – my first donation went to this amazing organization out of Minneapolis. Their goal and purpose is to promote and organize Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety. As the area that sparked the national movement, I felt it was the perfect place to start my contributions. Not only are they working to make the community a safer place, but they take the time to create resources and educate others on how and why their proposed programs will work.
Next is the Black Lives Matter movement, itself. They are more than just a hashtag, Black Lives Matter is an organization built for and by Black people. It works to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities. I cannot emphasize enough how much their resources and educational materials have impacted my own reeducation, and for that they deserve more than what I am able to give. If there is only one organization you can support off this list, I would start here.
Another resource I have been finding incredibly useful is Rachel Cargle’s Great Unlearn project. Her patreon series helps move the needle on antiracism work and unlearning the whitewashed version of history we all received in school. I found Rachel Cargle on Instagram a long time ago but am new to her current programming. I’m loving that she not only provides education on these topics but also offers a series of templates for holding local government, school systems, and businesses accountable for racial justice. A donation has been made as well as a monthly subscription to this Patreon service.
Speaking of Rachel Cargle, she also organized the Loveland Foundation, which is dedicated to bringing opportunity and healing to communities of color, and especially Black women. After opening my eyes to just some of the ways white supremacy plays out in school, work, church, everyday life, it became abundantly clear to me how exhausting it must feel to be Black in America. My donation to the Therapy Fund of the Loveland Foundation will help to provide access to Black women seeking healing through therapy.
Last, but certainly not least, I chose to donate to Color of Change. This organization is committed to leading campaigns that build real power for Black communities. If you’re looking into antiracism content on Instagram or Youtube, you’ve without a doubt seen one of their many informative videos. What I love about Color of Change is that they’re working against white supremacy on so many levels from criminal justice reform, to media representation, voting, technology and of course, politics too.
All of the organizations I selected to donate to have helped me to uncover the white supremacy and racism within my own life and business. They are organizations I believe in and will continue to support beyond just my June pledge to action. I encourage you to also look into these organizations and give where you can. Give especially if you have learned something from them. Give especially if you are trying to be a better human. Give especially because Black Lives Matter and we’ve allowed ourselves to disregard that statement for far too long.
I’ll end my blog with a quote from Ibram X. Kendi, "No one becomes “not racist,” despite a tendency by Americans to identify themselves that way. We can only strive to be “antiracist” on a daily basis, to continually rededicate ourselves to the lifelong task of overcoming our country’s racist heritage."