In the aftermath that followed the murder of George Floyd, I was introduced to Rachel Rodgers, an intellectual property attorney turned business coach, through a raw and honest Instagram video calling out the "good white liberal" response to police brutality and violence against black people. In the video she shares how white liberals can be true allies instead of engaging in performative allyship.
I found the video because we had a shared frustration with a business group that we both belonged to. Everything she said spoke to how I felt...until, I realized she wasn't just talking to me, she was talking about me.
She said things like, "Being an anti-racist is not convenient. If it feels convenient for you, you're not doing enough and you're not anti-racist." and, "We all have our spheres of influence. Step into your power as much as you can and do something! Do MORE!"
See, I have blamed my anxiety (and fear of saying/doing the wrong thing) for holding me back. I have rested on "I'm doing something" as an excuse to not do more. Whenever possible, I have stayed comfortable, played it safe, risked as little as possible.
So, I took what she said to heart. I reflected on what "stepping into my power" looked like and made a list of things I could do, both personally and professionally, to build this equitable and inclusive world that I long for. I can do so much more.
I'm committed to real change. I'm committed to staying uncomfortable. And, I'm committed to progress, not perfection.
Following are some of the steps that I've taken to better use my influence, resources, and power.
[Update: Just two weeks after her post, Rachel (along with others) organized an online event called "Reimagining Small Business: A town hall to listen, learn & commit to building equitable, anti-racist organizations" and created The Anti-Racist Small Business Pledge that thousands of businesses have signed.]
PROFESSIONAL ACTIONS TAKEN:
Since 2020, we have:
Launched Diversitybeans.com. Prior to September 2020, Diversity Beans were one of many products sold on our sister site. By creating Diversitybeans.com we are better able to clarify our vision and more effectively impact social change.
Implemented a social impact strategy. As a social impact business, we commit to supporting inclusive community building and belonging with both our finances and our product.
Designed labels for educational initiatives. Expanded free label designs to give customers options to coordinate their packaging with specific training (as well as give schools and organizations ideas for additional training). New labels include: United to End Racism, Celebrating Pride 365, Building a Better World, Anti-Bias Education, Black Lives Matter.
Created Give Back Program. 100% of profits from orders that include the Black Lives Matter design are donated to BLM. On all other orders, 20% of profits (10% cash and 10% in-kind) are donated to schools and organizations centering diversity, equity, and inclusion education.
Developed a School Donation Program. To give underserved schools the opportunity to receive free or discounted Diversity Beans. This allotment comes from our 10% in-kind donations.
Created a referral program. To reward our community for sharing Diversity Beans--getting more beans in more hands. This also gives us an opportunity to build strategic partnerships with individuals and organizations.
Partnered with a co-packer. To protect freshness, create consistent packaging, and fill large orders more quickly. This saves us both time and money. Pre-pandemic all beans were hand packaged.
Created a blog. "Tools for Inclusion" creating a space to share the many great resources for schools, businesses, organizations, parents, and children to cultivate diversity and inclusion. This will help with SEO and draw more customers to the site.
PERSONAL ACTIONS TAKEN:
Because my personal life and professional life overlap so much (see "About us") this area includes the things I'm working on personally--for my family and my business.
*This is a living space that is intended to hold me accountable to "Do MORE!" and stay uncomfortable.
(last update: 7/31/21)