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Black Lives Matter

It's been a long, heavy week. But a week of having difficult and uncomfortable conversations that expose white ignorance and privilege is nothing compared to the the injustice that black, brown, and Indigenous people live with and experience every single dayThere's a lot to process and a lot to learn and unlearn. I've got a long way to go myself and have realized so much about my own privilege just in this past week alone. My eyes have been opened big time.

If you've spent any amount of time on social media, you'll have seen different groups in need of donations, petitions to sign, and a ton of information. These are two local initiatives that Kinsfolk Shop has had the opportunity to support.

The first is The Black Heritage Society which is in Guelph, Ontario (where we operate out of). They've created a cultural and social centre that is working to recover and preserve the history of Guelph's black heritage. This centre is located at 83 Essex Street which is the original British Methodist Episcopal Church. This church was built in 1880 by fugitives from slavery who arrived in Canada through the Underground Railroad. They host various events and presentations throughout the year and provide space for clubs, camps, meetings and workshops for the surrounding community. They are currently accepting donations which will help with universal accessibility of the hall itself. This includes ramps and an accessible washroom. 

[image from @guelphblackheritage instagram]

The second place we wanted to share is Ocama Collective which is based in Toronto. Ocama is a grassroots collective of birth workers that aid BIPOC, queer and trans folx. They rely heavily on donations, so if you're in a position to help out, please consider Ocama Collective! Here's an excerpt from their website: 

 

If you're not in a position to donate, that's ok! Keep on learning, researching, petitioning, and doing what you can. One of the most helpful sources that I'd like to share is Aja Barber. She's an advocate for ethical and sustainable fashion and is a wealth of knowledge and resources. She has really opened my eyes to a lot of companies' claims about their manufacturing processes, how they treat their workers, etc. We've been doing homework on some of the brands we've been fans of personally (outside of KS) and are checking in to see- do they employ black, brown or Indigenous people? Especially in executive positions? Do they collaborate with and use BIPOC models, content creators, photographers and influencers? Who makes their products and where are they made? We've been pretty ignorant to the discrimination from some brands we've followed and supported with our dollars. We don't subscribe to fast fashion and haven't for a number of years but was surprised to find that some of the brands that champion the environment and sustainability were actually so far off base when it came to inclusivity, social justice, and so called "ethical" manufacturing processes. Aja Barber really breaks all of this info down and I really suggest checking out her Patreon and subscribing if you can!

And pertaining to Kinsfolk Shop, this is an inclusive space that aims to highlight the vast range of amazing talent that Canada has to offer. We’re actively looking for more black and Indigenous Canadian makers and vendors to add to the line up. We're also very mindful of the products we do carry. We don’t stock any products if the maker or vendor can't tell us where their ingredients are sourced or where their products are made and who makes them (ie, if products are made in overseas, do they have a personal relationship with the manufacturer/artisan/maker or are they just private labeling products bought off of AliExpress? Do the workers make a fair, living wage? Do they have safe working conditions?). We don't carry products that contain palm oil, endangered species of wood, or ingredients derived from fossil fuels (like petroleum).

Lastly, I wanted to share that we’re a continual work in progress..we’re never done learning and will continue to observe, advocate, listen, lift up, and strive to be better and do better. These words from Toronto-based holistic nutritionist, Carter Reid:

[{Image from @carterreid via Instagram} Alt text: in case we've lost sight of the the goal: the goal is to educate in order to bring together, not to shame one another and further divide. the only way forward is together.]

If there's anything you want to add or bring to my attention, please leave a comment or send me an email tiu@kinsfolkshop.com.

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