Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Shopping with a purpose 🛍
Background: Juneteeth is a day to celebrate victories won in the Black community and to honor those who have endured and persevered. The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 freed slaves in America however the slaves in Texas were the last to find out on June 18, 1865. They found out more than two years later, now known as Juneteenth. Let it be a reminder that while it may take time for victories towards racial injustice to be won, that we can't let the fight stop here!
In celebration of Juneteeth, equality for all, and everything that this holiday stands for, I chose to support Black own businesses and made purchases that supported BLM. So without further adieu, here is my Juneteenth online shopping haul:
Stormy Nesbit - print on digital linen paper
“I use my platform and art to speak up for and shine a light on my community and my people because Black Lives Matter.” - Stormy Nesbit
Custom illustrations: I think this would be an awesome idea for a wedding piece or as a present
I ordered her 5x7 “Woman Print,” which is about the size of a postcard. I love what it represents for me. My interpretation of her artwork is to embrace all forms of what a woman is and can be. I also interpret it as the need to show others love even when someone may look different from you. Her art is EMPOWERING. Check out all of her other pieces in her shop and I know you'll feel the same!
As part of her Juneteenth special, she also included her 8x10 "Black Girl Magic" print and it is absolutely lovely! I cannot wait to display both pieces on my wall.
Here is a size comparison of the different print sizes being sold on her website
My Stormy Nesbit pieces as well as pieces from a year ago from UO (the ones with the white borders). I think all the pieces go so well together ;D
The Wrap Life - hair accessories
Who can wear headwraps? The Wrap Life makes a statement on their page about appropriate saying:
“As a Black owned business that deliberately celebrates Black women through the images on our site, many people understandably assume that the products we make are primarily for Black women and no one else. We believe wearing head wraps is for everyone, because it has always been for everyone.”
With that being said, Wrap Life acknowledges and embraces the use of wraps in many different cultures, so in turn let’s support them and support Black businesses (:
Day 2 hair lookin quite ol right with my new The Wrap Life turbanette (:
Where am I looking? The world may never know...
I purchased their coco velvet turbanette on Juneteenth and I could really see that it was a great quality piece when I received it. The softness, thickness, and the color are amazing. I have been super into browns and a neutral color palette and this one really suits that. My only issue is that it is very snug and thus a little difficult for me to put on. It doesn’t give me a headache when it is on, but it is fairly tight. It eventually stretched out to a more comfortable fit. When measured, the turbanette is 17.5 in diameter.
Due to covid19, the company is not accepting returns at this time, so please keep that in mind when purchasing 🤗
KSAND.CO - handmade clay earrings w/100% of proceeds to BLM & covid-19 relief
Earrings for charity <3 She handmakes clay earrings, which you can make a donation to a BLM or covid-19 relief organization in order to "purchase." I had the pleasure of speaking with her through Instagram and she is a total sweetie!
I am in LOVE with the color combo of the one's I got (: Shout out to my good sis, Dev A. for posting about this awesome earring charity on Instagram<3
Her directions to "purchase" BLM earrings (also found on her IG highlight reel):
1. If not already on hold, DM her a picture of the earrings of your choice.
2. Once she gives you the okay that the earrings are not already claimed, then you'll need to do the following things:
Donate to a BLM related organization of your choosing. She recommends a $15 minimum, but understands everyone's situation may be different!
Send her a quote or post that opened your eyes about something related to BLM or a BLM petition that you signed or email that you sent demanding change!
The organization I chose to donate to was the ACLU in honor of Loving Day.
The petition that I signed was Justice for Tyler Evans.
I may have used the wrong "there," but I appreciated that this charity was able to spark these types of deeper conversations.
3. She will also ask if you can cover shipping. Shipping costs for me was $4 :)
I think her earrings for charity is an amazing way to get you to not only get involved, but to do some research on the movement and to learn something new! She is an example of one person being able to make a big difference and inspiring others to do the same.
also who doesn't love a handwritten thank you note?! :D
Chnge is a sustainable clothing company that uses 100% organic cotton in their clothing. Read here to learn about:
the transparency within their factories in
They also link this resource, Recyle Nation for helpful recycling tips
What they are doing for BLM
For the month of June, Chnge has donated 100% of their proceeds towards charities in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. They've raisied over $150,000 to date.
I purchased the Silence is Violence Longsleeve in the color chalk, but it also comes in black. Proceeds for different shirts are donated to different organization.
photos of t-shirt from change.com
the shirts from their BLM collection are pre-order and set to ship out Sept 2020
The proceeds from the shirt that I purchased are going to organizations that all really spoke to me and that I was so happy to know would be funding these various projects:
Moving to end police brutality by limiting how the police can intervene in situations while also giving more power to the community. They have created 10 policy solutions and you can click on and check within your city to see which policies are already in place if any. These policies allow us as a community to get involved in public safety by keeping our police officers in check and making sure that they are receiving proper training, so that we know they are really protecting the people and not abusing their power.
Campaign Zero also has a project called 8 Can't Wait and created a template for you to reach out to your respective mayors to enforce these policies. I had reached out to the mayor of Chula Vista, Mary Salas and actually got a reply from her office.
email from Mayor Mary Salas
The recipients of the donations (Black women and girls) will be able to receive help from mental health professionals that they otherwise may not have had access to. The Loveland Foundation's goal is to provide 4-8 therapy sessions for 1000 clients in 2020 to allow them to heal. What is so beautiful is that this organization was created after the founder, Rachel Cargle used her social media platform to do a birthday fundraiser to raise over $250K for this cause and now continues this work all year round.
The Loveland Foundation is now raising funds and accepting applications to their 2020 summer/fall cohort. Sign up for support.
This organization really hit home for me because I can understand how difficult it is to not have access to therapy, when sometimes insurance cannot be taken, costs may be out of reach for you, or the fact that even FINDING an empathetic therapist who is a good fit for you can be especially challenging.
They are our nation's largest racial justice organization. Some of their work includes:
Creating prosecutor reform and holding prosecutors accountable. From all the crime shows or stories that you may have heard about, how many times have you seen a prosecutor who was trying to convict someone of a crime without the proper evidence? For example a prosecutor who is just going off of someone's word and not physical evidence linking someone to a crime? They are so hasty to convict ANYONE of a crime and close the case. Have the victims gotten justice if you’ve got the wrong person? In current day, we are trying to hold police officers accountable, but let’s think of all of the other people involved as well. Reform should not be limited to police, but extend to prosecutors, judges, and prison guards --- ANYONE involved in the justice system to ensure that they are doing their jobs justly and fairly. People shouldn't be jailed for crimes that they didn't commit or STAY in jail for an amount of time that doesn't fit the crime.
Putting an end to money bail, which many people are not able to afford and therefore are kept in jail until their trial. A trial could take MONTHS to take place. Imagine being charged for a crime that you didn’t commit and having to stay in jail UNTIL you can stand for trial all because you don’t have the funds to post bail. And then imagine the suffering and trauma placed on you while standing in trial for a case in which you know you’re innocent. On top of requiring money for bail, also think of the money that may be needed for a good lawyer as well as the time spent on a case.
Ending profit incentives where companies can profit off of inmate labor and increasing the need for mass incarceration. There is a whole list of companies out there that profit off of the prison system. We as consumers can look into the companies that we shop from (always do your research friends!!) and make the choice to support companies that do not profit off of inmate labor. FYI mass incarceration used for prison labor is a form of modern slavery.
To enact fair sentencing and not over-sentence someone for minor crimes. A perfect example of the punishment not fitting the crime or in this case just an ALLEGED crime is the case of 16 year old Kalief Browder. Supposably he had stolen a backpack and was held in prison for 3 YEARS without trial. He was given a plea deal, but I watched his interview where he stated he didn’t want to fall victim to a broken justice system and plead guilty to something he didn’t do. I FELT THAT! They tried to scare him into saying if he went to trial and lost that he would be in jail for significantly a much longer time vs. if he just confessed. This is what gets people into giving a false confession. But he didn't let them control him. I just cannot believe that this mere BOY was being jailed in solitary confinement FOR A BACKPACK, which he said he DIDN’T steal and beaten by both guards and inmates alike. This tore him down mentally as you can imagine. He took his life at age 22. They say don't do the crime if you can't do the time. But how about if you didn't do the crime, you shouldn't have to do time. Make it make sense people.
Putting an end to anti-black violence and people taking the law into their own hands. Think about all the cases where a guard or a police officer acted against orders or a normal civilian who went ahead and pursued a “suspect” on their own resulting in injury and even death of that other person. From cases such as Trayvon Martin’s where the dispatcher specifically told George Zimmerman who was a mere volunteer neighborhood watch to NOT pursue Martin back in 2012 and that of present day such as the two murderers who THOUGHT Ahmaud Arbery was a suspect that they had heard about and gunned him down. How many times will we allow this to happen to innocent lives? People taking the law into their own hands? Who are they protecting others from exactly? It is people of color who should be protected by these crooked vigilantes. I hope that in sharing these real life stories and how terribly wrong they are that it can show you how important the work of such organizations such as the Color of Change truly is.
They are working towards very important matters in many different ways. I am moved by the work that this organization is doing and found myself getting teary-eyed at how messed up this world can be. I think everything that EJI is working towards, can move America in the right direction for equal justice for all. Their work includes:
Teaching the painful history and truths about racial injustice and discrimination in America. By acknowledging the past wrongs in America, we can change what we do in the future.
I think it’s so important now than ever to rebuild our education system to continue teaching past history, but ALSO to teach what changes students can make as individuals to not repeat history. What can they do now to actively not be racist? To be more inclusive, to make everyone feel accepted and welcomed? How can they bring what they learned back home and in their communities to teach their families and friends? This is equally important to be learned in schools to unteach harmful and hurtful behaviors. Also can we increased funding in education while we defund the police? JS!!
But back to EJI! They even have a Legacy Museum which has reopened this June. The location is actually a warehouse where former slaves were imprisoned, so there is definitely a lot of history there. If I visit Alabama one day, I definitely do want to pay the Legacy Museum a visit and to continue to educate myself on the true history of America. Tickets for adults are $8, students are $6, and kids 6 years and younger are free.
Criminal justice reform This part of their work that really broke my heart because it is so crazy to think such inhumane ways of treating people of color exist in present day. The EJI works to improve prison conditions as well challenge wrongful convictions. It is an amazing thing that they are bringing such evils to light and doing what they can to stop this madness.
You know, we always hear about how it is rapist, pedophiles, and sexual predators who "aren't liked" in jail and are beated up. How many times have you heard "oh, they'll be taken care of when they end up in prison." But, what about people who are oversentenced for their crimes? People who were wrongly jailed? People who are victims of mass incarceration in America, especially and mainly those from the Black community. Just because there isn’t as much coverage on it doesn’t mean that it isn’t going on. Do you think they're exempt from getting beaten up because their "crime" is different? The Black Lives Matter movement has brought to light countless situations of where there are people in power who don’t know what to do wth their power and ABUSE and beat Black prisoners and it is absolutely sickening to know what these Black people have experienced and gone through. Just hearing the stories are utterly traumatizing.
Take the case of Miss Sandra Bland in 2015 for example. She got charged for assault on an officer when you could clearly see in a bystanders video that the officer was assaulting HER and had slammed her on the ground. She was kept in a holding cell for 3 days and was found hung in her cell by a garbage bag that was left in the room. The prison guard LIED and said he had checked up just an hour before she was found when he didn’t. And also why weren’t all items removed from the holding cell? Why was the guard not held accountable for lying during his testimony and not doing his job properly? Conditions in prisons need to change and there needs to be a prison guard REFORM to do their job correctly. This woman wasn’t even a criminal and by no means had any reason to commit suicide accourding to her family. Her story is completely unsettling, unfair and broke my heart because she had just moved out there for a new job. There hasn't even been justice for her or her family. Also it wasn't even until 2019 that her personal video of the incident was released. Why was her video concealed if nobody was trying to hide anything? You can hear the officer telling her to put her phone away and that he was going to "light her up." Disgraceful.
Another case is that of Darren Rainey. This man was a man with a mental illness who instead of being placed in a mental facility was placed in jail for a nonviolent crime - possession of cocaine. Corrections officers played with his life and burned this man to death in boiling hot water after he had defecated on himself. They locked him in a prison shower for 2 HOURS. This story absolutely sickened me and shows how important it is to ALSO have a prison guard reform. Who hires and oversees these monsters is what I would like to know and HOW was no one jailed for his brutal murder?? I didn't know going to prison for a nonviolent crime = a death sentence.
The EIJ was able to have Diane Jones pardoned from a false conviction as well as the release of Diane Tucker from wrongful conviction as well. Please read their stories to understand how the justice system fails Black people as well as those with mental disabilities. Their stories had gotten me into researching more cases of this happening and I found a published article with 53 cases of people who were convicted because of a false testimony or because someone had a mental illness and was forced into confessing. These situations should have been handled MUCH differently. If you would like to read about these 53 cases of false confessions you can read them here. They were written by Robert Perske in 2008. He stated in his personal reflection that "My editor helped me do the final proof. I read the article line by line off the computer screen while she followed along with a copy of the manuscript in front of her. Interestingly, we had to stop every now and then so she could recover from her shock and sadness over what happened to these 53 persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One cannot help but wonder if such anguish might someday lead to the end to these awful miscarriages of justice."
So from a t-shirt that I purchased, I was able to learn more about the work that still needs to be done in regard to police reform, prison guard reform, prosecutor reform and more community involvement, mental health services accessibility as well as the proper mental health evaluation in rsponse to crimes, the need to end both money bail and mass encarceration i.e. modern slavery, education reform in continuing to learn our history, but not repeating history, fair sentencing and not oversentencing, ending anti-Black violence and taking hate crimes seriously, improving prison conditions and continuing to challenge wrongful conditions.
As you can see there is so much that is currently wrong with the systems that are in place. If it isn't working for ALL of us, then it has to be changed. You have the power to do what you can to make change happen. We can all start by continuing to do our research and educating ourselves on issues that are happening RIGHT here in our homeland and right under our noses. Then when we choose to support organizations who are doing the work to CREATE positive changes, CONTINUE t do your research and see what type of work they are doing, what are their goals, what have they accomplished for the movement? And when you have discovered a group that is really doing some good for this world, then please never stop sharing. Spread the knowledge, spread the resources, and spread the wealth. It is much more than buying a headwrap, a t-shirt or a new pair of earrings, but the message, lessons, passion, intention, and work that went behind it. I was able to support organizations this Juneteenth who stand for something so much more than what meet the eye, who have used their craft to get us to do our small part to uplift a community and to continue learning and staying involved. I have learned immensely this past month and pledge to continue to do so. Because BLM isn't a day thing, or even a month thing. Treating others with respect, kindness & love must be an every day thing.
🍃💗Love and growth always 💗🍃,
Resources in order of appearance:
ACLU, Loving. “Looking Back at the Landmark Case, Loving v. Virginia,” ACLU.org, https://www.aclu.org/issues/racial-justice/loving.
Pierre Kim and Sefton Eisenhart. Chnge Blog. chnge.com/blogs/news.
Michael Schwirtz and Michael Winerip. “Kalief Browder, Held at Rikers Island for 3 Years Without Trial, Commits Suicide.” New York Times (2015). Page 1. June 29, 2020.
Caleb Downs. "Former guard admits he didn't check on Sandra Bland before she died, lawyer says." Dallas News (2016). Page 1. June 29, 2020.
David Montgomery. "Sandra Bland, It Turns Out, Filmed Traffic Stop Confrontation Herself." New York Times (2019). Page 1. June 29, 2020.
Jenny Illarramendi. Demand Justice for Darren Rainey Petition. https://www.change.org/p/united-states-supreme-court-demand-justice-for-darren-rainey