Open to All - On Our Progress
It’s been 6 months since we published Instagram and blog posts stating our intentions regarding wanting to be truly Open to All. It can be easy to make a statement, but what are we doing to uphold our stated values? We want to be held accountable for our statements and, in an effort of transparency, wanted to talk about some of the changes, conversations and progress that has been made here at Fancy Tiger Crafts since February, specifically regarding racism. So far this year we have been working on education and actions.
Education. We’ve been learning a lot. Some of the books I’ve read this year and would recommend are:
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I’ve also been working my way through the “Becoming Anti-Racist” guided journal from Where Change Started as well as following her posts and videos on Instagram (and supporting her on Patreon!).
We’ve also learned a lot from the posts and comments written by many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) members of the fiber arts community on Instagram and blogs. The Unfinished Object blog is a great place to start. We are so grateful for the sharing of lived experiences and honest dialogue on these platforms.
Action. We know we need to support, hire and work with more people of color to create a Fancy Tiger Crafts that is a reflection of the diverse world we live in. We definitely have more work to do in this, and we’ve made some small steps in the beginning half of the year.
- We’ve picked up two new yarn companies, owned and run by black women: Lola Bean Yarn Company by Adella Colvin of Grovetown, Georgia and Neighborhood Fiber Company by Karida Collins of Baltimore, Maryland.
- Amber and I stepped down from a teaching engagement at a retreat that featured an all-white teacher line up. We had some difficult discussions with the organizer that ended on a positive note. While the retreat ended up being cancelled, it has now been rescheduled for the fall with a very diverse line-up. We are happy to have been a part of the behind the scenes dialogs around this.
- We commissioned designer Dawn Henderson, a long-time friend and supporter of FTC, to design our free pattern for Yarn Along the Rockies (coming out August 17th). We have some other exciting collaborations coming forward in the future.
- We have contracted a local, black woman, Diversity and Inclusion Trainer, Nicole Taylor, to work with and train us and our staff. Ms. Taylor works as the Diversity Officer for Outreach, Enrollment, & Recruitment at Colorado Community College. We have two planned training sessions: August 1st is a morning session for all staff in lieu of our regular meeting, followed by a full day retreat on September 12th. The store will be closed on September 12th so that all our employees can attend this retreat. We are all looking forward to taking some time away to focus and learn with Ms. Taylor.
Are we going to make mistakes now and in the future? Yes. Is there more to do? Absolutely. We are dedicated to ongoing inner work, thinking deeply about our actions and continuing to learn and do the work. We are excited to see and experience the Fancy Tiger Crafts of the future. We truly appreciate the support of our community as we learn and grow. We are thankful for critique, and welcome feedback and suggestions.
-Amber and Jaime