During these last couple of weeks, along with many of you, I have been listening, reading, watching, learning and supporting...
It was also a good opportunity to re-think what should be the purpose of this small project, which is almost 6 months into business.
At the time (check our story here), I wanted to create an escape for a more meaningful life, and so Unwind Studio was born with the mission to change how people perceive crafts, through needlepoint. Another goal was also promoting wellness by delivering a product that would encourage people to create and unwind at the same time.
But now that I have the responsibility of managing my own small business, I can't stop thinking that this should too include the responsibility of using my voice and platform for greater causes.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was an awakening of my own white privilege, and what should be my role in our society and community.
Unfortunately, we continue to see structural racism everywhere, in all societies. And at individual level, examples of racism include prejudice, xenophobia, internalized oppression and privilege, and beliefs about race influenced by the dominant culture.
I'm aware that this won't be a couple of weeks work, but rather a lifetime commitment... nevertheless,
Start from where you are - not where you wish you were.
The work you are doing becomes your path. ~Ram Dass
I want to take this opportunity to let you know about the actions that are being planned, and what are my intentions for a contribution towards a better world.
1. Donations & Collaborations
- June 2020:
- 50% of profits from all sales during the first week of June were donated to The Love Land Foundation, an organization that provides therapy funds for Black women and girls.
- 50% of profits from the "The Kiss" canvas will be donated to Grupo Educar, a Portuguese organization that fights racism through education.
- We are preparing the launching of a very special canvas "Black Lives Matter", whose 100% profits will be donated to BLM related organizations. This will be the first of many canvases to be launched, in a limited edition of 50 units per design.
Our children are our future
With the launch of our Kids collection, we want to support children organizations all around the world. 10% of the sales of each canvas from this new collection will be donated to such organizations, indefinitely.
2. Unwind Studio Artists
We want to contribute to equality and diversity, not only with Black artists but other minority groups. We second and completely identify ourselves with Marc's message on Instagram (Slowdown Studio):
"We have always prioritized art and aesthetics over everything. The color of an artist's skin or where they came from just wasn't important to us, and we considered this unfiltered approach to be one of openness and acceptance for all. How could we be contributing to racism if we proudly admitted to not knowing what some of our collaborating artists even look like? That way of thinking might work when there's a level playing field, but there isn't a level playing field. There is a disproportionately low number of Black artists in our feed, on our favorite art websites, submitting their work to us and entering our art comp. The 'why' of this is systemic, and it will not change if those with a voice/platform don't make deliberate decisions to fix it."
I'm truly grateful for the existing needlepoint community, and the small steps that ourselves and a group of some amazing needlepoint designers are taking into action to make real change happen! Hopefully you'll be able to learn about this very soon!
3. Sharing ways for our audience to learn, take action and be the change
We will continue sharing ways for our audience to learn, take action and be the change, through our social media channels.
Here's what you can also find:
- A comprehensive list of anti-racism books
- A brilliant list (found here) by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein, which includes accounts to follow, films to watch, podcasts to listen to and resources for parents too.
- Ways/tips to support and help black-owned small businesses: https://www.finimpact.com/
If you have recommendations/suggestions or experiences you want to share, I’d love to hear them! Let's all work together to make real change happen.
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