I shared this statement on Instagram yesterday and am doing so here on the blog as well. Last week was a massive gut check on how I use my time, energy, and voice to build an equitable world free of racism. It raised uncomfortable realizations that I’m still processing. Yet the conversation that matters most to me on this Monday morning isn’t one of feelings but of forward movement. Long-term change demands long-term action; and my privilege has allowed me the comfort of inaction for too long.
So here are the steps I’m committing to, in order to ensure that last week’s momentum continues towards the goal of ending racism and racist policy. I’m sharing these with you not for validation but because research shows that accountability increases the odds of making a lasting behavioral shift. As well, the internal conversation of “What difference can I make?” has in the past paralyzed me—as I know it has many of us. My hope is that sharing some of my personal action items may spark ideas for your own.
- My social media presence is one of my most valuable resources. I’ll therefore be dedicating a weekly post on my platforms to highlighting the talents of Black creatives in the realm of lifestyle and design. I’ll share this content with permission, using appropriate tagging and accreditation, and I’ll encourage you all to follow and engage with these creators. Not only will we celebrate their vital contribution to our nation’s exquisite cultural tapestry, but together we can grow the reach of Black creators—thereby increasing the likelihood that homeowners hire Black designers, that magazines + blogs promote the products and services of Black business owners, that brands work with Black influencers for paid campaigns. As I’ve learned from my 12 years in the digital space, with an increase in reach comes an increase in opportunity. It’s time for Black creators to receive the opportunities they’ve ALWAYS deserved.
- When I’m contacted for speaking opportunities, events, and other professional engagements, I’ll inquire whether Black and other BIPOC creators have been invited as well. If none have, I’ll suggest some whose expertise could suit the occasion. If there’s limited space at the table, I’ll happily cede my seat in order that Black voices can be heard. And if none are to be included, I’ll not participate either.
- I’ve set up recurring $50 monthly donations to Black Women Birthing Justice and the California Black Women’s Health Project. The future depends on the health of mamas and their babies, yet Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. These organizations are working hard to impact education, resources, and policy to improve the health and well-being of Black women.
I have so many other ideas—ways I can use my design skills + my studio space at Light Lab—that I’m currently fleshing out with the intention of fostering “sustainable solutions that affirm the prosperity of Black lives.” (As called for by Black Lives Matter in this post.) I’ll continue to share my journey with you guys, again in the interest of action-oriented accountability and community building. I know that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and that I’ll probably make mistakes along the way. I am open to whatever feedback those missteps bring because growth demands it. Better to tread imperfectly, however, than not at all.