I do not know exactly how to start this blog, but I am going to just start where I am at and see where it takes us.
First and foremost, I am going to start with this: Black. Lives. Matter.
This is not a trend. This is the truth, the battle cry for the unheard. I am not here to convince you of this truth, I am here to talk about how we are going to do our part to make sure that our children’s generation doesn’t have to hear this truth contested.
I have gone back and forth on what to say about Black inequalities in our nation, beyond our official stance as a company. I have written a blog, rewrote that blog, deleted the blog, wrote a new blog and then rewrote the new blog. All of them ended up being self-aggrandizing stories about my life and experiences. But this movement is not about me. Each day I am educating myself more with podcast and audiobooks, and each day brings new revelations and how I can really be of true assistance right now.
So what can two potters do to help instill change for Black equality in Kentucky?
We are not sure yet. But what we are doing is actively listening instead of being passively silent. We are using the tools of vulnerability to check our emotions when we hear other’s stories. We are learning by reading and consuming art not only about how to be anti-racist, but also books about the lives of people within the Black community.
I wanted to say nothing until I had an iron clad plan-of-action for how to participate in this movement. But I have waited over 10 days to talk to you all and I still do not know yet. We have not done enough work to know what might be truly effective – we are still learning and researching.
Where we have landed on for right now is this: amongst doing what we can to help feature Black makers, we want to help amplify the voices of the Black community in any way that our small platform allows us to.
We have moved our portrait from the I Was Here installation (an amazing project of ancestral portraits of Black slaves) from our second-floor window into our main shop window. Alongside this piece from our home, we have an additional piece that the artist has given us to display in this window (alongside her permission to use them in this way). We have printed out words from the project’s website and placed them at the front of the window so viewers can know more about this wonderful project. Please go to the website and learn about this beautiful art installation and if you are near Lexington or Winchester, go see these pieces in person.
We want to do our part to make sure that this movement creates real & lasting change here in our city, our county, our state, our country. To make sure that people do not move on or forget or become complacent.
We have made many mistakes in our lives that have been either passively racist, used White privilege without acknowledging it, or just been insensitive to the Black community in general. Although I can say confidently that I have never viciously or maliciously been racist, our silence has assisted others into thinking racist and unethical behavior is okay. Our promise to you is to always be bettering ourselves even when it is uncomfortable, to lead an anti-racist team here at Dirty South Pottery that has a strict no-tolerance policy for discrimination, to be learning how to be a better ally to minority groups, and to use the inherit privilege that being a White, straight cis couple grants us to further expand the possibilities of those who are outside of the dominant culture.
We will make mistakes, but we promise to always work through the discomfort of fixing them. We love you all.
Here are some resources that I have been using:
My advice to anyone looking to start on this hard work right now is to read a little, and then give yourself a mental break. Decompress. Let it sink in. Identify your feelings and work through them. Then pick it back up and repeat.
- Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us Podcast – The whole show is gold, but specifically her conversations with Austin Channing Brown and Ibram X. Kendi
- The Next Question
+ Please consider purchasing from Wild Fig Coffee & Bookstore in Lexington.
I’m Still Here. Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown
Dying of Whiteness – Jonathon Metzel
How to be Anti Racist – Ibram X. Kendi
+ Request an absentee ballot in Kentucky.
Sarah from Space, Place & Southern Grace has compiled a wonderful & thorough list of resources - make sure to check it out here.