This year, we’ve seen the world come together in protest against systemic racism, police brutality, and countless unjust killings of black and indigenous people. Companies and individuals alike are being faced with the questions of how they have contributed to the problem, and what they can do to help solve for it. We thought it was about time that we shared how we’ve committed to anti-racism.
At Fairware, we’ve long been committed to Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. We embrace equal opportunity and strive to recruit and retain a diverse workforce. We are a certified Women Owned and LGBT owned business. We welcome all races, abilities, sexual orientations and gender identities, and believe the more diverse we are, the better we will be. We’re a certified B Corp, committed to using our business as a force for good. We feel we’ve done good work to improve our communities, culture, and our environmental footprint, but we never thought to be explicitly anti-racist until recently.
When the protests began earlier this year, we looked inward and reflected on where we stand as a company, and as people, and we realized we have a lot of learning to do. We look up to clients of ours like Ben & Jerry’s, who have had a history of working on causes other than their own success, including racism, and we applaud them for standing up for what they believe in. We were afraid that without a track record of speaking on the issue, we might come across as insincere or “bandwagon-y”. We didn’t want to mis-speak, so aside from posting a black square for #blackouttuesday and a couple of educational pieces in support of the movement, we haven’t publicly said much else about the issue.
We realize now that just as we look up to companies like Ben & Jerry’s, many of our peers look up to us. People have followed us as changemakers in our industry, and we’ve been passionate about helping educate our clients on all things ethical sourcing and sustainability, our bread and butter. So, naturally, people have also looked to us to see how we’re navigating this topic as a company. We’ve had folks point out our silence and wonder why we haven’t spoken up more in support of the movement.
So we’re here now to tell you that we support #blacklivesmatter and decolonization, and to let you know that we’re doing the work internally to learn as much as we can about the issue. We know we’re not perfect so we’re listening to the experts.
To start, we created a new Slack channel where we share things like resources, articles, and activists and educators we’re following on social media. People like @privtoprog and @rachel.cargle, for example.
We’ve signed the WeTheChange Anti Racism statement to show our commitment to working toward ending racial violence that is claiming so many lives, and we’ve participated in reconciliation dialogue workshops.
We have a recurring Wednesday meeting where we discuss an article or podcast we’ve read or listened to collectively. For example, we’ve listened to podcasts like Unlocking Us | Brené Brown with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist, and read articles like 100 Ways to Support—Not Appropriate From—Native People and Decolonizing Practices. We know we have a lot to learn, so we’re taking this time to listen to others and find ways we can improve together as a company.
We’ve set goals for ourselves internally and have created an Asana board to help track our progress.
One of our focuses will be on increasing diversity in our product photography. We want to show greater representation of all body types and all races, so we’ll be reaching out to our suppliers to ask for more diversity in their resources. This has also led us to question our use of gendered sizing in our apparel offerings. We’ll be educating ourselves and our clients on this by having conversations and adding content to our presentations and lookbooks. While it’s a challenge in our industry, we will look for more diverse images including body types and gender non-conforming apparel pieces.
We know this is just the beginning of our work toward dismantling systemic racism. It’s embedded in so much of our society, and we all need to work to consciously remove it. At Fairware, we’re committed to continuing our education on these issues. We’re open to receiving honest feedback for how we can improve, so please feel free to send us resources and suggestions if you’d like. We all need to work on this together.