Like many of you, the STIK team has spent the past few days listening to voices of the black community, learning how to be antiracist, and reflecting on ways to create a more diverse and inclusive brand. We recognize that, as a company and as individuals, we need to be better. We are defining actions for how we can continue to be a brand that our community is proud to be part of. Here are some things we, as individuals, are doing to educate ourselves.
Tessa - I know that change won't happen overnight, but every article, book, movie, and podcast that we read, watch, and listen to brings us one step closer towards confronting our biases and breaking down a system entrenched in racism. I've found it helpful to first educate myself on the meaning of commonly used terms in anti-racism content (I encourage everyone to check out this comprehensive glossary), as a better understanding of these terms will allow us all to have more productive discussions. My next piece of reading material is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a non-fiction book about being black in America. But it's not enough to just read - I'm committed to having conversations about the lessons learned from these stories with my family, my friends, my coworkers.
Tory - The events of the last week have given me more pause than I can communicate. I have become so much more aware of my privilege and my lack of knowledge and understanding of the systemic racism that exists in our country. As a start, I have spent a lot of time listening to activists, leaders, and members of the black community, and have started the journey of educating myself on how I can be a better ally. Specifically, I have been reading and listening to works from activists like Brittany Packnett Cunnningham and Monique Melton. I have made a donation to the NAACP and have emailed Boston’s mayor Marty Walsh in support of the #8CANTWAIT campaign. I’ve also purchased several children’s books that I plan on reading to Kennedy including, The Skin You Live In, We’re different. We’re the Same, and The Color of Us are a few that I’m excited about. Listening, learning, loving, and acting - that is how we make a difference, and I’m so committed to doing so.
Claudia - I am working on educating myself and to be a better person, a better ally, and better informed. I have started to listen to the podcast called “Seeing White” which is a 14-part podcast. I go for daily walks anyway, so I am using this time to better educate myself on racial inequality. I am also continuing to sign petitions on Change.Org and donate if I can. With conjunction of Campaign Zero and with the #8CANTWAIT project, I have emailed Boston’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, to enact 4 remaining policies that can decrease police violence by 72%. We already have 4 key policies in place, but we need the 4 more.
Sarah This week, after far too long of being avoidant and quiet, I confronted my responsibility as a person with white privilege to be a better ally and to be actively anti-racist. I cannot educate myself quickly enough and I am making a concerted effort to consume content from Black voices. I have thoroughly enjoyed diversifying my feed and filling it up with important perspectives. I started by listening to the stories of Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. With their stories, the stories of too many before them, and their families in mind, I learned about the reforms that need to happen against police brutality and signed petitions, sent emails to representatives, and donated to organizations that are working hard to support important groundwork-NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Massachusetts Bail Fund. In an effort to better understand the experiences of the Black community, the broader experience of people of color, and my role in active anti-racism, I have found the podcasts Code Switch, The Diversity Gap and What Matters to be eye-opening, informative, and interesting to listen to. I am going to read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and make my way through recommended documentaries on this topic. I have a lifetime of work to do to contribute to the fight for justice, but I am grateful for the motivation to listen, learn and do the work.
Meg - I'm committed to supporting more black-owned brands and businesses. If you're in Boston, @BlackOwnedBos is a great resource - check out their "highlights" tabs to review their growing directory. I'm also reflecting and having honest conversations about inclusivity in my work. As a starting point, I'm referring to this list by Fashionista of talented black journalists, designers, and creators in the industry. I'm sharing this list with all of my friends and colleagues in the fashion and beauty industry, as a way to continue amplifying these individuals’ talents, projects and stories.
Franny: It has become clear in the past few days that change, in the words of Obama isn’t a choice “between protest and politics. We have to do both.” This has made me woefully aware of my past lack of involvement in both voting at a local level and writing to government officials at these levels. We have power in our voices, and demanding change in specific terms seems more possible to me more now than ever. I have since written many emails to these officials and read up on all the voting opportunities that are upcoming in my area. Yet another insufficiency in my knowledge that I have become aware of is of the black experience in America in general. In an attempt to better my understanding, one podcast that has been extremely enlightening is 1619 by the New York Times. Starting with the introduction of the slave trade to the US in 1619, this podcast describes all the numerous ways in which, despite systematic oppression and discrimination, black Americans have shaped and built American pop culture, economics, health care, our system of democracy and so much more.
We want to hear from you about what we can do to continue the journey of education and action against racial injustice. Share your thoughts in the comments.