June 3, 2020
Dear Communities of The Happy Love Project and The Katherine Phifer Brand,
In the last few weeks it has become crystal clear that both the Katherine Phifer Brand and The Happy Love Project websites require an accessible and available statement regarding racism and diversity in which is available to community members, partners and employees.
I now realize that I cannot assume that people just know that both diversity and racism are important topics in my life. I cannot assume people are going to know that we discuss these topics at all levels in the businesses I run and inside my personal life. I now see that these statements and policies must be posted clearly in writing regarding why and how.
It is with my apologies that it took the events of the last few weeks to understand that it is negligent to assume that a community member knows where I personally and professionally stand on these issues. I will not pretend that I have this all figured out, nor will I claim that I am doing it right.
At a personal level...
I have been involved in my own training regarding power, privilege and oppression for a really long time. I won't get into the tales of my life experiences or training, this isn't the place. While my training has been both in the educational and professional realms, I deeply understand that I have systematically benefited from a society and culture that favors people who are Caucasian. I understand that I still benefit from this society. I will continue to pursue personal training regarding racism and diversity so that I stay committed to making change at a personal and business level. I will continue to do the work to understand how I contribute to the problem.
A few things I've learned recently that I now understand I can do better:
1.) Voting at the local level. I live in a state in America where I often don't agree with the majority vote and have felt that my opinions didn't really matter. I now understand that my vote, whether it will be valued in the state I live or not, is important when it comes to local issues around change particularly in relationship to People of Color and diversity in general. I will take the time and energy to become involved at the local level. I will vote for people who are actively against racism and systematic racism. (I do vote at the presidential level consistently, and will continue to do so.)
2.) I plan to become more involved with what's being taught at schools. A good friend of mine shed light on this issue for me. To be honest, since I am not an educator or work in the education system, I had no idea that I could become involved with what is being taught in schools. I have believed that in order to teach my children what I think is important regarding race and diversity, that it was up to me. My husband and I regularly have conversations about race, racism and diversity with our kids. However,I plan to have conversations with my local school board regarding what's being taught regarding history and values.
3.) My husband and I are committed to raising our children with the knowledge of racism, systematic oppression and diversity as a whole. I will actively teach my boys to not respond in fear to people who have different opinions than them. They will continue to be taught to not be silent when it comes to issues in order to keep the "peace." In my house we have had ongoing conversations regarding fear from speaking our truths when it comes to supporting issues that are emotionally charged. We have also had conversations regarding the systematic racism that exists in our society and culture.
4.) Personally, my husband and I will continue to donate and invest our dollars in important causes and business.
5.) I will continue to search for education to know more and to support the changing climate that is desperately needed.
At a professional level...
1.) The Katherine Phifer Brand and The Happy Love Project are based on diversity, unconditional curiosity and passion to always do better. We will actively involve this theme in our mission statements.
2.) When hired, full time and part time employees will be gifted appropriate training courses regarding racism and diversity. Interns will be actively involved in diversity conversations. Once we reach a certain financial level, we will offer our interns diversity training as well. When we do, we will hire based on diversity.
3.) Content on both platforms will be committed to diversity. We will do more to include voices of the GLBTQ community, and the BI& POC community in interviews and articles shared on The Happy Love Project. While we have not had any events yet, future events will be inclusive and diverse.
4.) Each business will financially become involved with programs that support the systematic change within the world.
At both the personal and business level, I will continue to have conversations regarding racism and diversity. As always, my door is open to conversations about how we can do things better. Inside The Happy Love Project and Katherine Phifer, we believe in radical rancor, but we prefer to have these conversations through verbal conversation. If you would like to get on a Zoom call and discuss how we can better serve our communities, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .
You can find a link to this diversity statement in the footer of every page of our websites.
As always, be well and do fabulous things.
With love and abundance,
(PS. This is a working document and will updated regularly.)