A Letter to our Community: Allyship and our Company’s Promise
As a brand that prides itself on being a friend to all, we had to use our voice to talk about the racial injustice and hate currently unfolding. This injustice is not new (it’s a 400-year old issue to be exact) but we had to speak up now. We are constantly learning, and we certainly aren't perfect - but we are committed to educating ourselves, trying to better understand the experiences of BIPOC, and standing in solidarity as an ally. We hope our customers, creators, business partners, and anyone touched by amika will stand with us to do the same. Continue reading for resources we have compiled as a team that we hope will help give clarity, understanding, and guidance.
We will not stop at a social or blog post. amika is a collective of product junkies, creatives, hair stylists, and so many more. We are committed to doing the necessary work internally by having tough conversations, analyzing our own decision-making process, donating to BIPOC organizations, partnering with black-owned businesses, and codifying our commitment to diversity.
In 2020, we will donate $25k to organizations that uplift Black and Brown communities. Our first donation will go to Know Your Rights Camp. This organization’s mission is to “advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.”
In 2021 and beyond, we will make consistent donations to organizations dedicated to inclusiveness. amika is an independently owned small business, but we see our BIPOC community in need now and will continue to support from this point on.
We will practice what we preach and set an example for our entire audience. We have to start somewhere, and we are starting right here and right now.
SAY THEIR NAMES. Etch them in your mind. Remember that they are fathers, sons, daughters. Don’t forget what has happened when the news cycle changes. From this point on, we will continuously support our BIPOC community.
To our BIPOC friends:
We hope you are taking this time to take care of yourself and do what feels right for YOU personally. You’re tired. You’re worn down, and you’ve had enough. You are not compelled to tell others how to do better or how to fix the problem. You should not be told how to protest, when to protest, or how you should be acting or feeling.
If you need support, click here for a list of virtual mental health resources. As said by the author of this article, Jesse Sparks, “However you choose to grieve, process, and/or stand in solidarity, remember that you’re not alone, and that your personhood and wellness still matter.”
Why should we be using BIPOC instead of POC?
BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). According to the BIPOC Project, “We use the term BIPOC to highlight the unique relationship to whiteness that Indigenous and Black (African Americans) people have, which shapes the experiences of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a U.S. context. We unapologetically focus on and center relationships among BIPOC folks.”
What does it mean to be an ally?
- Initiate the hard conversations at home and in the workplace
- Understand the difference between “calling out” (when we need to let someone know their actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated) and “calling in” (when there is opportunity to understand, learn more, and grow)
- Know that you will never completely understand the experience of BIPOC
- Have humility
- Actively be anti-racist, not just “not racist”
- Listen to the BIPOC people in your life and amplify their voices
- Step outside of your own individualism and don’t make it about you
- Acknowledge and commit to understanding privilege and prepare yourself for the sacrifices that you will need to endure to counteract this privilege
- Show up beyond social media
- Protest SAFELY
- Sign petitions and engage your government officials
- Have zero tolerance of racist jokes or rhetoric
- Educate those around you
- Support BIPOC businesses and amplify BIPOC voices
How can we actually start to make a change?
The biggest way you can make a change is by heading to the polls or completing absentee ballots. Participate in your local elections if you want to see reform in your criminal justice system.
Barack Obama said this week, “...it’s important for us to understand which levels of government have the biggest impact on our criminal justice system and police practices... elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels. So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.”
Click here to see when the primary elections are in your state.
Make sure to also sign petitions that are circulating. Here is a one-stop-shop link for you to utilize, as well as share with family and friends.
How to educate yourself
MOVIES TO WATCH
- Uprising: Hip Hop and the LA Riots
- Strong Island
- Fruitvale Station
- Luke Cage
- Whose Streets?
- Seven Seconds
- McFarland, USA
- Freedom Writers
- Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years
- King in the Wilderness
- Lean on Me
- Long Walk to Freedom
- I Am Not Your Negro
- If Beale Street Could Talk
- Malcolm X
- Mississippi Burning
- Remember The Titans
- Just Mercy
- The Hate U Give
- When They See Us
- White Fragility - Robin DiAngelo, Michael Eric Dyson
- How To Be An Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
- Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America – Ibram X. Kendi
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor – Layla F Saad
- White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide - Carol Anderson
- This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa
- So You Want to Talk About Race - Ijeoma Oluo
INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS TO FOLLOW
PODCASTS TO LISTEN TO:
- Shine Brighter Together
- Reid This Reid That
- Be Heard!
- Confessions of a Workaholic
- The Nod
- Minority Trailblazer Podcast
- H.E.R Space
- About Race
- Code Switch
- The Diversity Gap
- Intersectionality Matters!
- Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
- Pod For The Cause from the Leadership Conference on Civil + Human Rights
- Pod Save the People
- Hoodrat to Headwrap: a decolonized podcast by Ericka Hart
Where to donate
BIPOC businesses to support
If you’re local to NYC, support these black-owned restaurants
We hope you can use this list as an ongoing resource for being an ally to BIPOC. We will make sure to publish any updates here if we have them. Have any suggestions? Leave a comment below!
By Becca King + the amika team