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What can we do with all this pain?

Our sorrow, grief, and anguish over the senseless death of George Floyd, and so many other Black men and women across this nation’s history, are manifested in many ways right now. We are sharing posts from several of our members, as well as an idea spearheaded by Aurora James, founder of the Brooklyn boutique Brother Vellies. 

If you are so moved, we would love to hear about what changes you are undertaking in this time of upheaval and opportunity for a better world. 

Denise Woodard, founder and CEO of Partake Foods, wrote about the bittersweet concurrence of Partake’s fourth birthday with this incredibly painful time in our nation on Instagram:

Partake's 4th birthday is tomorrow. It's important to recognize life's milestones and be grateful for how far you've come—no matter where you're at on the journey. Have an idea for a new business? Start somewhere. Start anywhere. That's what @dgwoodard did. 

As much as we'd love to celebrate, our birthday falls during a tumultuous time in our country. Partake has been built on the support of the Black community, and we want to extend that support right back. If you're an ally, the same rule above applies: Start somewhere. Start Anywhere. We've linked one of our favorite resources @theconsciouskid in our bio.

Take a moment to check out the conscious kid, the organization Denise mentions. 

Christina Stembel, founder of Farmgirl Flowers, posted a picture of George Floyd as a child, in his mother’s arms, on Instagram. Here’s part of what she wrote:

I can’t post pictures of flowers or a tutorial video right now. I tried to last tonight but my entire being wouldn’t allow me to. @shaunking shared this photo, and this is the only thing that feels right to me to post - baby #georgefloyd in his mother’s arms. It’s a beautiful photo of a precious moment between a mother and her child, and looking at it I can’t help but genuinely hope that those who have passed cannot see what’s going on here because if they can, I can’t imagine the pain she felt watching her son be murdered. 

In June, Farmgirl Flowers will donate $10 of each sale of its With Heart bouquet to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Emily Griffith, founder of Lil Bucks, shared how her business will change in a blog post on the company’s website. Here’s an excerpt:

Reflecting on my own business, we shared on Instagram this past Friday how Lil Bucks will do better to promote inclusivity in the wellness space and as a business. We need change in our country’s systems but also within our communities. I wanted to share some of the women and organizations we found that would be great to support as a community.

It’s well worth the time to read Emily’s blog and follow the women she mentions.

Aurora James’s idea is the 15% pledge. Aurora is calling on major retailers to devote 15% of shelf space to merchandise from Black-owned businesses. As she shared with Zlati Meyer of Fast Company in a 6.1.20 article:

“So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power,” Aurora James, founder of the Brooklyn boutique Brother Vellies, wrote on Instagram two days ago. “So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your sponsored posts are seen on Black feeds. This is the least you can do for us. We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space.”

Of course, you don’t have to be an executive of a major retailer to make the decision to support Black-owned businesses. You can do that with your dollars. Here are some great options from The F Project community:

Chloe Kristyn (women’s clothing), Founder Bettina Benson

Reimage Beauty (cosmetics with a mission), Founder Tearra Vaughn

Dress Downs (garment weights), Founder Simone Magee

Iya Foods (African foods), Founder Toyin Kolawole

Eu’Genia (shea butter), Founder Naa-sakle Akuete

Partake Foods (allergen-free cookies and snacks), Founder Denise Woodard

Liberté (inclusive lingerie), Founder Amber Tolliver

Effie’s Paper (stationery and whatnot), Founder Kalyn Johnson Chandler

As Denise Woodard said so simply and eloquently: Start Somewhere. Start Anywhere. 


Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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