It’s been an intense couple of weeks as we’ve all witnessed the world become conscious of its racist systems, institutions, and beliefs like never before.
BIPOC have shared stories of police brutality; discrimination at daycares, schools, and universities; being ostracized by friends; facing racism from loved ones and strangers alike. They’ve shared their successes and triumphs, love, and joy despite these obstacles. They’ve educated the hell out of us. People at all stages of awareness are listening to and amplifying BIPOC. They’re pledging to show up in intentional and productive ways. They’re challenging themselves and their communities to do anti-racism work.
It’s been at times awesome and uplifting, at others painful, overwhelming, and frustrating. It’s been messy, but hopeful.
Confessions of an Angry Feminist Killjoy
For myself, as someone who’s literally worn the label “angry feminist killjoy” with pride, I’ve been reflecting on the ways I’ve chosen to show up in the past (and present), and how I can do better moving forward. I learned that it’s not useful to be so self-righteous in my anger that I become a blunt and indiscriminate weapon in the fight against racism.
My major takeaway from actually shutting up and listening last week (instead of getting on my soapbox all day every day):
a) My anger is not entirely having the effect that I actually want—which is for people to stop being racist
b) I’ve been using that self-righteous anger to shirk my responsibility to have conversations with those who are closest to me.
I’ll be clear: I’m still angry.
I’m angry that it took me so long to realize how racist the world still is, how long it took people I loved and respected to learn, and how long it’s taking so many others. I’m angry because I know that white supremacy is a seductive force and there are countless people, many in positions of wealth and power, who will continue to perpetuate this brutality.
I’m angry because I want us all to do so much better. People are dying while we worry about how to make an anti-racism post fit the aesthetics of our Instagram feeds, and how many of our friends, family, and followers might send a nasty message or make an angry comment if we make a statement, or how much income, support and community we might lose by being publicly anti-racist. And that’s for those of us who are trying.
So I’m angry. I will always be angry. And I will always appreciate people who are oppressed voicing their anger. Anger is not only justifiable, but a rational emotional response to the horrific ways white supremacy manifests in our world.
But the way I’ve been using my anger has not always been helpful, or productive. So I’m going to keep doing my work, and I’m going to do better by the communities I’m trying to support, and the people who are also doing the work—even if they’re not at the exact same stage as me.
Responsible Feminist Leadership
This has become even more important because, over the past month, Bloom + Brilliance has gone from a one-woman show to a talented, passionate, and diverse team of six. Growing the team means my range of impact and influence is greater. Growing the team means our collective range is even greater.
I’ve never taken that responsibility lightly, but I’m going to do better, and I’m going to do more.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve used this time to not only listen and learn but to prepare a commitment statement to help guide my (and our) active and intentional efforts to contribute to social change.
Our Commitment Statement
Bloom + Brilliance is an intersectional feminist business. We actively support organizations, movements, activities, and businesses that are working towards making the world an equitable and safe place for all people—inclusive of all genders, races, ethnicities, cultures, sexualities, abilities, income levels, work occupations, religions, and spiritual beliefs, etc.
We are committed to hiring people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and education. We recognize that racism, misogyny, homophobia, ableism, classism, and poverty are often insurmountable obstacles to training and education. We do not discriminate against alternative education or training, including self-taught methods. We will gladly provide training ourselves when needed, and support additional professional development opportunities when we can.
We are committed to supporting, working with and partnering with other businesses owned by intersectional feminists and womanists, with a special focus on owners who are BIWOC (Black, Indigenous, Women of Colour), GSRD (Gender, Sex, and Relationship Diverse) and members of other communities that face oppression.
We are committed to the ongoing work of anti-racism and decolonization, and dismantling systems, institutions, and cultural beliefs built by white supremacy and the patriarchy.
We are committed to providing a safe environment for our team, our clients, and our followers. Bloom + Brilliance will not tolerate private or public behaviour, sentiments, or expressions in any manner that are:
- Anti-Sex Work or Sex Workers
- Anti-Reproductive Choice
We are committed to providing opportunities for social justice education. Mandatory training and workshops on anti-racism, decolonization, Indigenization, and feminist entrepreneurship will be held regularly, lead by educators from their respective communities. Both educators and our team members will be compensated for participating in this training.
We are committed to providing a respectful, flexible, adaptable, and productive environment that recognizes and appreciates diverse skills, talents, perspectives, experiences, and ways of learning and working. We believe in the power of compassionate, community-focused collaboration, rather than traditional top-down leadership.
This is the Beginning
The world has been suffering under the reign of white supremacist, patriarchal, and colonial powers for thousands of years. The progress we’ve made over the past hundred or so years has been hard-won. Some of us have “come a long way”, but we’ve left many more behind. The work of social justice is difficult and never-ending. We’re still at the beginning of this journey, and although our destination will never truly be reached, I’m hopeful.
Our level of consciousness and action is peaking, and there are some truly remarkable things happening around the world. But we can’t stop. We can rest when we need to, but we have to keep moving forward.
Here are some ways to keep that momentum going:
- Donate to organizations that are working for social change at local and national levels.
- Hold your elected officials and leaders of community organizations accountable and ask for them to share how they are committed to social justice work. Make sure to follow up!
- Check-in with organizations with which you are a member, and do the same. If they can’t prove their commitment, cancel your membership, let them know why, and look for organizations that are committed.
- Go through your personal and business expenses and commit to redirecting a portion of your spending to businesses owned by BIPOC.
- Diversify your media consumption: newspapers, magazines, social media feeds, television, music, art, theatre, movies, etc. You’ll likely have to try to outsmart the “smart AI” algorithms and rankings that spoonfeed us our content. Be deliberate!
- Seek out anti-racism education opportunities from BIPOC. White people can contribute to the conversation, but they should NOT be profiting from anti-racism education. There are many resources at every price point, for every level of familiarity and for diverse learning styles. It doesn’t matter if you do the work privately, hire a diversity consultant, or participate in a group led by a paid educator, just do it. Be sure to pay BIPOC anti-racism educators and speakers to compensate them for their work!
- Step in to share resources and educate with beginners, so that BIPOC aren’t shouldering the burden of educating individual people.
- Foster an open environment for conversations with friends and family who are starting their anti-racism work, and hold your people accountable.
For more information, education, and opportunities, here are just a few recommended resources:
Resources and Articles
Anti-Racism Educators and Courses
If you have any questions or comments about my personal values and commitment to social change, how Bloom + Brilliance operates within a feminist framework or anything else this has inspired, please get in touch!
Founder + Creative Director