I have learned so much about white supremacy and anti-racism in the last month. It’s embarrassing and downright shameful how complicit I was about racism in this country. I found myself defending my position at first - citing my experiences that make me DEFINITELY not a racist, then I realized white fragility is real and so deep within me. It became clear that I had a lot of work to do to actively participate in the BLM movement, so we at CZH took a pause.
I acknowledge that I am sitting from a very white vantage point - we have never been turned down for a space rental, a loan or a meeting and I realize this is privilege in action. We haven’t actively sought out Black designers, Black contractors, or Black manufacturers. We built a design community out of our existing networks and friendships, never once acknowledging our role in creating an overwhelmingly white space. We are accountable for each of those practices, and equally accountable for the time it has taken us to recognize them. I really really understand now that being actively anti-racist is the only way to move the needle towards real progress.
So, here is what we plan to do moving forward:
-Maintain an evolving anti-racism team syllabus so we can share resources, stay active in our learning process and hold each other accountable.
-Make space for Black designers at our sample sales and in our community of designers and ensure that our environment feels inclusive and diverse so they feel welcome.
-Intentionally amplify the work of Black creatives on our platforms.
-Seek out Black manufacturers and contractors for our production work.
-Donate to organizations working to support Black communities and dismantle systemic racism
-And in the long term we are working to partner with a public school within our Red Hook community. As a teacher and a student I have witnessed how empowering artistic expression can be. This program is unfolding and will be something that is part of CZH for good, from here
With that, our first step starts this week as we launch new artworks based on my childhood growing up in Memphis. We will be donating 15% of the proceeds from this collection to Souls Grown Deep, an organization dedicated to promoting the work of African American artists from the South and investing in their communities through racial justice, economic empowerment and educational advancement.