The events of the past few weeks have exposed deep injustices that have, over time, become part of our daily lives. As a society, we have become desensitized to the symptoms of discrimination -- symptoms that lead to the oppression and death of so many people of color -- and we agree that in order to live in a just society, we must make it one where it is possible for every one of its members to feel safe and thrive.
Knowing this isn't quite enough, though. We have to take specific actions, educate ourselves, and commit to demanding more of ourselves and of each other.
If you're like us, after seeing the Blackout Tuesday activation on June 3, we were compelled to do something ... but were unsure exactly what to do next. We were unsure where our voices were needed and worked hard to discern when, perhaps, silence and listening were more appropriate. So we started reading and talking and researching and looking for ways to activate our rage and love and pour it into something good for change.
One thing we started doing immediately was seeking out and signing petitions that felt relevant. We compiled a list of a few that might resonate with you and have listed them below in case you would like to explore them.
We have been overwhelmed to see such a loud call for justice and such strong support for a cause that each one of us holds near and dear to our hearts and these events have made us realize that although all the individuals on our team support black lives, we have never made a public stance as a company. We created some Q&As to share our thoughts and actions with you and to clarify the values that are integral to us as a company.
1. What are you and your company doing to combat racism?
Currently, we are using social media to relax on selling and promoting to give more bandwidth to the platforms being used for BLM campaigns. As a company, we are signing petitions to reform K-12 education, to promote inclusion, to bring justice to black lives lost to unnecessary abuse of power and violence, and to end racism.
We are also standing and marching in protest to support this important movement. In order to provide financial support and create opportunities for People of Color in the arts, we are donating to the Art Smith Scholarship fund. The most important effort in our minds, though, is to practice inclusion in our company as well as always strive to work with companies who have similar values, who do not use prison labor, and who actively support and promote equality.
2. Who are some of your favorite black jewelers or artists?
We are honored to have the opportunity to share just a handful of our favorite creative people of color. We hope you enjoy their work.
- Holly Anne Mitchell Jewelry
- Art Smith Jewelry
- Kara Walker Painting
- Martin Puryear Furniture + Sculpture
3. Why didn't you post a black box on Instagram along with so many others?
We missed an opportunity on Blackout Tuesday. We have a nimble team and we often go several hours heads-down on projects that keep us from checking social media. Tuesday was no exception, and even our social media contractor had commitments that day that kept her from checking the pulse on what was going on in the world. By the time we learned what was happening, I could not get it together to post a square in support of the movement. I want to make it clear that everyone at Todd Reed absolutely stands with black lives. I believe there will be other blackouts as well as mass opportunities to support the population via social media, and I will make sure to be a part of these opportunities. I felt that apologizing for the oversight would have put energy where it is not needed and is not helpful during a time when I would rather our energy be spent on supporting equality.
4. Have recent events moved you to do business differently in any way? If so, how?
Recent events have given me pause and I am taking time to reflect practices in all aspects of my business. We decided to focus on the most obvious opportunity first -- determine whether there are any companies we work with who don't align with our values, and to stop working with them. When it comes to marketing, we are working on ways to determine when we should stay quiet to give space to more important voices and allow for important community dialogue, when we should speak out about our values, and when we should proceed with the business of doing business. It is tricky to know what is the most helpful, when, but we are dedicated to finding our place, and timing, in these very important conversations.
We are continuing to actively engage in dialogue about what we can do differently and better to support and empower people of color and look forward to contributing to a more just power structure by supporting black lives whenever and however we can.
Love and kindness,