I want to formally apologize for an action that I took on Friday that was hurtful. I silenced one of our members, Ebony Love, someone who has been a longtime member of our community.
This event occurred in our Facebook group. A member of our group posted a question, and Ebony answered it in a helpful, straightforward manner, as did several other members. A few hours later the member chose to delete her post. Ebony then created a new post explaining why deleting a thread hurts the group as a whole. In the comments on that thread, I asked Ebony to speak in a kinder tone. That was wrong of me to do. My words silenced Ebony’s. We then made the decision to close the comments on that second thread, which effectively silenced her again.
Ebony has always stood out to me as an exceptionally smart and professional presence in our community and in the quilting industry at large. When I interviewed her for the Craft Industry Alliance podcast I was incredibly impressed with her deep knowledge and understanding of business concepts. When she conducted a webinar for Craft Industry Alliance I learned a tremendous amount from her expertise. I admire Ebony as a professional and as a person and I feel terribly that I have hurt her through my actions.
I am deeply sorry. I realize that asking a Black woman to soften or edit her tone is taking part in a long history of racism against Black women who have been asked to change the way they speak to accommodate others. This is not the way that I want to behave and I am taking time now to do the work to examine my own biases.
I am appreciative of Sam Hunter for calling me out on this behavior on her blog and I am also appreciative that Ebony took the time do write about what happened on her blog as well. I know that I have caused hurt and harm, not just to Ebony, but also to other members and to our organization as a whole.
Through my actions, we have lost a valuable member of the Craft Industry Alliance community. I am deeply sorry. I have apologized to Ebony privately, but I also feel it’s important to do so in a public way.
Craft Industry Alliance should be a place where all business owners feel welcome and where frank business advice can be shared. That has always been my mission and that is my goal now and going forward. I realize that this apology is just the beginning, that we will need to do ongoing work over the weeks, months, and years to come to be an anti-racist organization.
Here are some steps I’ve set up as part of our action plan:
- I am reading How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and doing my own work to better understand my biases.
- We are meeting next week with Black Makers Matter to discuss ways in which we can support their work and further their message through our platform and audience.
- I am working to diversify the writers in our freelancer pool. This week we’ve added 19 BIPOC writers making our total pool 37% people of color.
- I am working to increase the number of BIPOC guests I interview on our podcast so that we can hear more diverse stories and business experiences.
- We are looking to hire more Black presenters for our webinars. We have already reached out to several new presenters and will continue to reach out to more in the coming months.
- I’m conducting an audit of our membership, our policies, and our community structure in order to better understand where we are and what we need to do going forward.
- We’re working with the Social Justice Sewing Academy on developing new Youth Mentorship program to help guide and encourage young entrepreneurs. More details on this project coming soon.
This is the beginning. We can and will do more. As the co-founder and president of this organization, I am dedicated to doing the work and expect that the community will hold us accountable.