Listen & Research
Last week, as we all witnessed George Floyd's murder by a police officer, our instincts told us both to just stop, take time to mourn the loss, and listen. We spent the better part of the first five days listening to perspectives from all types of people. Bre and I admit that it was a lot to digest. With the importance of social media in today's day, there were a lot of words being spread. We witnessed some people staying silent, a few spreading hateful thoughts, some people posting about politics and blatantly ignoring racial injustice, and most supporting black lives in any way they could. We read all of the articles that we could and worked towards staying active and positive.
We wanted to share a powerful post that we saw by Liana Teresa.
How to REFOCUS the conversation on what's IMPORTANT:
Them: Wow...have you seen the news?
You: Yeah isn't it incredible how the country is coming together to demand justice?
Them: I totally get why they're protesting, but not all cops are bad!
You: True! But neither are all black people, yet cops more often than not treat them that way. That's why we protest.
Them: I wish they didn't resort to violence.
You: You mean the cops?
Next, we decided it was time to research the issues. Luckily, I had done a little bit of this work during my college studies earning my bachelor's degree in public health. We stumbled upon many different resources that helped us to dive deeper into the issues at hand. Everything from podcasts, videos, books, films, and articles. You can find that resource here: Anti-Racism Resources. We ordered several of the books on that list that were also recommended to us:
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
We look forward to reading through these books, learning new information, and having these be a part of our home to share with family and friends.
Support Black-Owned Businesses
This is honestly an aspect of fighting inequities that we had never considered. In the past, we have sought out businesses and products that are eco-friendly to do our part for climate change. So, we now ask ourselves -- why did we never seek out black-owned business? Recent events make us feel ashamed and ignorant at times, but we're also grateful to be learning along the way and hopefully supporting those we can.
Here locally in Denver one of our local publications, 303 Magazine, released a list of 275+ businesses that are black-owned. Everything from restaurants to retail shops. If you find yourself in Denver check out the list here. We are looking forward to getting out and supporting some of these amazing businesses in our community.
It's no secret that the travel community is lacking diversity. We've had companies (ie hotels) approach us for photography services because we're a Western couple who will 'draw in the travel community' by being in the photos. Lately, we've been questioning everything we've built here at The Love and Adventure. We've been discussing and incorporating questions we'll ask our future partnerships about how they're seeking out diversity in their campaigns. If our values don't align, we won't be partnering with those companies. This has always been the case, but we've never considered the lack of racial inclusion as a sole reason to turn down a company.
Another way the travel community can expand in diversity is to support a publication and marketing agency called Travel Noire. It is founded by a well-traveled black woman named Zim and mainly focuses on the perspectives of people of color traveling but also, aims to close some of the equity gaps that exist in the travel community. From Zim:
"I chose travel because seventeen percent of African Americans take one or more international trips and travel more than six times every single year, yet only 2.6% of ads focus on African-American audiences. I knew that being well traveled resulted in higher incomes & higher impact, improved job performance and a wealth of health benefits. But I also knew a couple more things: I knew that people of color were more likely to make a purchase if advertisements reflected them. I knew that there was this huge, untapped potential because as people of color, we are top consumers of media."
A few of our other favorite black-owned businesses are:
Tactile Matter - Kenesha Sneed. An illustrator, ceramicist, and animator from LA. We own one of her paintings and often get asked about it. Her simple use of color and form is so unique.
Jungalow - Justina Blakeney. It's no secret that Bre's love for Justina Blakeney runs deep. There's not a week that goes by that Bre isn't oohing or awhing over something she does. Justina is an interior designer, artist, author, and product designer. She's known for her wild, bold style.
Asiyami Gold - Influencer and Creative Director. Asiyami is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful powerful women we follow. She's a fellow traveler and blogger, photographer, and art director for AuCo Studio. I mean, just take a look at her Instagram.
Donate to Organizations
Son of a Saint - this is one of my favorite organizations and I've had the pleasure of working with them on a professional level. Son of Saint provides tangible resources, mentorship, and education for fatherless black boys in New Orleans. The youth typically lose their fathers due to incarceration or death.
Black AIDS Institute - the black community has always and continues to be disproportionately affected by the AIDS pandemic according to this startling report. It is very urgent that we continue to support this organization to improve the lives of the black community.
Black Girls Code - their goal is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. To provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020 and to train 1 million girls by 2040.
Congressional Black Caucus PAC - the CBC PAC works to increase the number of African Americans in the U.S. Congress, support non-Black candidates that champion their interests, and promote African American participation in the political process.
Write Our Local Politicians and Sign Petitions
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Head to their website where you can fill out a form and the organization will share your information with your local congressman. Their list of calls for reform pertaining to closing equity gaps for people of color and how to help unserved communities of color recover from the pandemic. Here is a list of what the NAACP is calling for in regards actionable reform:
Deliberate and intentional Criminal Justice Reform that ensures the protection of Black lives, the expansion of the Home Confinement Pilot Program under the First Step Act, and a reduction in sentence for non-offenders.
Expansive student loan relief to include a suspension of student loan payment until the economy gains strength, discharge of student loans for essential workers, and automatic cancellation of at least $20,000 in federal student loan debt for all.
Expansion of Medicaid as a short-term measure to cover healthcare for those who are impacted by the pandemic.
Federal funding for states to improve election administration and upgrade voting systems that comply with the CDC standard regarding COVID-19.
Petition List for Black Lives Matter Issues - we went through this list and chose which petitions to sign after doing a little bit more research about them.
Attend A Peaceful Protest, Forum, or Memorial
Check out your local Black Lives Matter chapter to see a list of events going on in your area. We chose to attend a morning memorial service for George Floyd which featured a lot of local politicians and community leader's perspectives on what our community is doing to improve the lives of our black community. It was peaceful, eye-opening, and a great way to show our support. We stood in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds -- the same amount of time George Floyd was face down on the asphalt with a police officer's knee on his neck.
With COVID-19 still circulating, please ensure that you wear a mask and keep your distance from others as much as possible if you choose to participate.
Be kind to one another,