This is a first draft. There will be more drafts, but there will never be a final draft because I am committed to life-long learning on this.
I pledge to keep examining the effect of white supremacy on me and my business. I’m committed to learning more about how it operates and how I can help dismantle it.
I am a white woman, and so I benefit from white supremacy. My white privilege has given me ease and opportunity that many do not receive. The majority of my teachers in my formal education, but also in my self-directed education, have been white. I am more likely to be given a chance, a platform, a loan, or the benefit of the doubt in this skin, in this system.
I have no employees and I don’t plan to, honestly. That doesn’t preclude me from improving the diversity and inclusivity of my business. My business relies on other freelancers and a number of services: bookkeepers, copywriters, social media experts, plugin creators, hosting companies and more. This part is new for me, so I will be actively searching for Black, Indigenous and other People of Colour to collaborate with, learn from, buy services from, always paying for the labour I receive, and acknowledging where their platform, knowledge, skill and experience is greater than my own. This is about collaboration and mutual benefit, rather than the model of the nice white lady granting favours.
I pledge to engage (and invest) in anti-racist education.
While I’m not new to trying to educate myself in this arena, I know I have only just dipped my toe in these waters. I’ll be doing this in four ways, initially:
(1) committing my time and money to paid programmes provided by Black women, starting with Rachel Cargle’s The Great Unlearn. I’ll review this quarterly
(2) searching out and reading (not just buying and photographing) books on anti-racism and white supremacy from those who have immersed themselves in this work for years and years, especially by Black, Indigenous and other Authors of Colour.
(3) examining my other reading, including the fiction in my personal life, and the books and courses I invest in to advance my business and tech skills, to deliberately seek perspectives that do not perpetuate the current, broken model.
(4) sharing resources as I find them, not from a position of leading or teaching, but as a fellow student in this work. Those resources will come predominantly from the Black, Indigenous and other People of Colour communities and will be paid for.
I commit to accepting the discomfort, having the difficult conversations and open conflict.
I’ve started having the difficult conversations. I’ve seen peoples views shift over time. I’m not experienced with open conflict, but I’m learning. Moderating a safe space is important to me, and I’ll seek advice and support when opening new spaces in how to best do that.
I commit to investing a portion of my monthly company budget to the Black and Indigenous communities.
The first step will be an audit of where the money is going, the anti-racism stance of those companies and sourcing alternate providers of those expenses. I accept the guidance of aiming for 30% of my budget. I’ll start tracking the current numbers so I can hold myself accountable. To support those with bigger businesses and greater skills and knowledge than mine, I will pay Black providers for training. To support those with businesses smaller than mine, I will donate time and expertise and donate to organisations such as Black Girls Code on an ongoing basis.
This pledge to becoming an anti-racist organisation in the short and long term is only the beginning.
– 14 June 2020
The education and inspiration for this statement was drawn from the words panelists on the Reimagining Small Business town hall meeting and accompanying pledge, which I have signed.