As I’ve watched from across the ocean, I have been absolutely broken-hearted by the killing of George Floyd and the treatment of peaceful protestors marching in his name and in memory of many others. But I’ve been encouraged to see so many fellow Americans of all races rallying behind signs saying Black Lives Matter and standing in solidarity against the injustices faced daily by our black brothers and sisters.
After reading, watching, listening and reflecting, I would like to share some thoughts with you. And, before I begin, I want to acknowledge that I’m bound to make some mistakes here. For that I ask your forgiveness in advance. I’m still learning.
Over the last few days, I’ve had the Pledge of Allegiance in my mind. It’s not said as much now as it was when I was young. But if you grew up around the time I did, I bet you still remember it.
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
It’s become clear to me that these lofty phrases sound hollow. We are dividing, not unifying as one nation indivisible. We do not treat others the way we would want to be treated, as would a nation that lives under God (or whatever moral authority guides you personally). And clearly there is not equal liberty and justice for all.
Until we can say that the words of the Pledge of Allegiance are descriptive rather than aspirational, we as a society have work to do. And that work can be done by both individuals who march and vote and by businesses that create products and have platforms and followers.
I’ve also been saddened to see the crafting community turn in on itself a bit over the past week. As some companies have taken first steps to express their support for social change and justice, their statements have been met with angry responses of “All lives matter!” from one direction and variations on “Too little, too late!” from the other.
We as a community of creators are better than this. I simply can’t imagine someone posting photos of a first sewing project and being overwhelmed with negative comments about the pattern chosen or the quality of the sewing. Just as with our sewing, we learn, improve and grow with experience and practice. (And by “we” here I mean primarily white people who have not lived with systemic racism and companies that have never before taken a social stand.)
The best in the crafting community encourage, support, and help others improve in their skills. We can do the same here. You may be further along in your journey, but many are striving toward the same goals now. Rather than criticizing and getting angry, use your voice to encourage and improve. Let’s lift each other up so we can accomplish our goals. We are stronger together and can accomplish more by helping each other than we can by cutting each other down.
So how do these thoughts relate to us and our company? I’m not sure if you’re aware that we’re tiny, with very limited resources. Despite that, if you know us you know that we strive to live up to our beliefs, and we are constantly trying to improve. We have made efforts to be more inclusive in our sizing and our selection of models. We have made donations to organizations that provide relief to those in need. We will continue to do these things with an increased focus on issues of social justice and equality.
Can we do more? Of course. We want to do much more. And we’re going to work toward those goals thoughtfully and deliberately, not with a single action or donation this week but with continued steps in the months and years to come and in ways that feel authentic to us and that represent our beliefs.
One last thing. Personally, I also want to hold myself accountable for my beliefs and thoughts, and my work to improve my understanding of the black experience in the U.S., in addition to doing more to support my black brothers and sisters. To that end, I’m going to add a comment to this post listing some of the books I’ve been reading and the things I’ve been listening to. If that list helps you, wonderful. I’d also encourage you to add to that list anything that you’ve read or heard that has helped you. I’ll follow your suggestions as a way to continue to grow.
Black Lives Matter. Let’s strive to make our nation (and the world) truly indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.