Black Lives Matter
First, because this should always be clear. Black Lives Matter. ALL of them.
This shouldn't be a point for argument. Black lives matter/ But - That dialog shouldn't be happening. If all lives matter, then the conversations should go Black lives matter/ Yes, they do.
It's not Black lives matter only or instead of. The point is that Black lives matter JUST AS MUCH and our current society is stacked against them - police, government, educational systems, medical and banking and home industries, even the use of English* (and this is not a complete list) - even before you get to individuals who argue, or worse, when someone says Black lives matter. That is racism, that is all racism.
Life and lifestyle are not interchangeable terms, and our lifestyle is not more valuable than someone's life.
It is not something we white people are owed, and for all that the current society may not be something we specifically and individually built, it is something that specifically and individually benefits us. And we specifically and individually have a responsibility to do better.
Even if we can't solve the whole thing as an individual, we can do better.
Even if we make mistakes, we can do better.
Even if we don't call people names, we can do better.
Even if we don't have a lot of money or other parts of our lives are hard, we can do better.
Even if we have a colleague, a friend, a family member who says we don't have to, we can do better.
WE CAN DO BETTER.
It is important to make a statement, and it is important to take action.
Ten Thousand Dandelions is a micro-business, but there is still concrete work that I can take as a business (in addition to work as an individual) to do better.
1. Representation. People should be able to see themselves reflected in the representations of the world around them, and as a business, especially a fashion business, that's a part of the larger anti-racism work I need to address.
That includes Black people modeling my work, but also sharing the words and work of Black businesses, action items, thought leaders.
Black people will make up at least 30% of the models I work with, and another 30% of the models will be people of color.
2. Monetary support. The hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affect Black people and people of color, including job loss, lack of health benefits, lack of medical care, lack of rent relief, and lack of food. Black people and people of color are also disproportionately affected by the problems of climate change.
In order to work towards addressing these two problems, for each product purchased Ten Thousand Dandelions will make matching donations to both One Tree Planted and the Greater Chicago Food Depository for all of 2020.
I am considering extending this donation plan for 2021, but also reviewing other possible organizations, especially Black-led organizations which do this work and which work to encourage and support Black artists and artists of color (I'm open to suggestions! If you are part of such an organization, or you know of one, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. Accountability. I will make mistakes. I will try to do better, and cause hurt instead. It may be through lack of knowledge, it may be through lack of care, and either way at a minimum I owe those I hurt an apology, acknowledgement of the problem, and a plan I will put in place to avoid causing that hurt in the future.
*I'm U.S. based and an American English speaker, which is why I'm including this example; I'm not familiar with similar biases in other languages, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're there.