Before We Begin Again

Hello, friends. It feels a little weird to not say anything about this past week before we begin posting new content again. As many of you know, we chose to use our platform this past week to amplify voices that need to be heard. And even though we are planning to share our regularly scheduled content again beginning tomorrow, we did want to make it very clear that we do not consider things business as usual. We believe changing the systemic racism that still prevails in our country will be a multi-generational marathon and not a one-week sprint on social media. We are ready to continue to learn and grow ourselves and we’ve been SO proud to see that you all are in it too.

Before we begin again, we did want to share a few things that feel strange to leave unsaid. First, we’ve heard from a lot of our Black readers this week; more than ever before. Thank you SO much for all the comments, direct messages, and emails. Thank you for reading our site and taking time to interact with us, including criticism. And we want to keep hearing from you, as much as you want to share. We’re glad you’re here.

One piece of criticism that we’ve been thinking about a lot this week (and one that we will continue to think on/work on) is that our Black readers feel underrepresented in our content. We would love to work with Black and other POC content creators if they are interested in contributing to our blog. If this is you or you know someone, please email us at: support AT abeautifulmess DOT com with a sample of your work. We have approached a few talented Black writers in the past, but we do not currently have someone in this role and we are super open to it. We will continue to look ourselves, it’s not our audience’s job to find someone. And we will be aiming to make sure it’s a true, organic fit. We do not want to participate in tokenism.

As I just mentioned, we have approached a few Black content creators in the past to contribute and they were unable/uninterested because they already were building their own brand/business. This leads me to the second thing that we feel we could greatly improve here at A Beautiful Mess. With our platform, we have the opportunity to highlight other bloggers, writers, makers, business owners, course creators, etc. Yes, we have promoted BIPOC in these capacities in the past, but we could be so much more intentional about this. We can and will do better. Getting to lift up other women (and men!) business owners and influencers is such a great privilege and we do not take it lightly. We already have a lot of ideas around this to incorporate into our blog and social content weekly. We’re excited!

And just to be clear, we do not plan to publicly point this out every single time we do it. We have a lot of ways we can help, and we also have a lot of work to do ourselves. A lot of this work needs to be done in private. We do not want to use our brand to virtue signal. Yes, we want to stand up and loudly demand justice and equality for our country that we love. We also know as white women of privilege we should also sit down, listen, and amplify marginalized voices too. We believe both are necessary.

Another thing we’ve been thinking a lot about this week is police reform. We believe the role of law enforcement is vital to our communities, but it’s also clear that reform is needed. One organization we feel is addressing this is the ACLU (and yes, we donated) and we’d love to learn more.

In the 12+ years we’ve been blogging we’ve never taken an intentional week off from sharing content. We are proud we got to take this (very small) step this week. It’s not about us, but we want to honor the influence we’ve been given by you all who have chosen to come here and read our blog for years.

Thank you. -Emma, Elsie, and the A Beautiful Mess team

  • Awesome goals! Love how you are thinking long term and big picture!

  • Thank you so much for taking a stand! I am already a loyal follower and I am proud to stand with you on this. May I suggest @bloomandplume as a creator you may want to seek out?

  • All lives matter. It would be a lovely world if equality, inclusion and diversity were found everywhere. I’m another privileged white woman and I don’t know how I would ever explain the abuse of power of a police officer wilfully killing someone. I have two small nieces and want to instill in them that emergency workers are who you run to in a crisis and what ‘to serve and protect’ means.

    My heart bleeds for America. That this insidious racism and abhorrence of police killings has occurred at all, not even that it has become as commonplace as school shootings in the US, is barbarism on an indescribable scale.

    Black lives matter.

    With hope and love that your country can heal and grow towards the light of a brighter world view. It’s important that everyone acknowledge the importance of this moment and fight for justice and a time when all lives matter.

    • Hi Jill, while I’m sure it’s well intentioned, saying All Lives Matter is actually a hurtful thing to say right now. It’s accurate but it’s not helpful. Let’s say someone’s mom died and you said to them “everyone’s parents die” – accurate, but hurtful to say in the moment. Let’s say a house was on fire and they come to put the fire out – are you going to say “well all houses matter, you should hose down that one over there too”? Again, I know you mean well but it’s something you may want to keep in mind going forward!

  • I was thankful that last week you spoke on Black Lives Matter and highlighted some books to read and organizations to donate to in support of this very important cause. I would LOVE to see more POC writers, creators, businesses and brands featured on your blog. I am so glad that you have plans to be more inclusive. Best wishes moving forward.

  • Please practice gender inclusivity. Instead of listing just women and men, please consider non-binary folks, trans folks, etc.

  • I appreciate this. Especially that you want to be careful to do it right, rather than following the new status quo for a week or until it runs out. I’ve read many many times that doing your own work (separately and collectively as a team) is incredibly important. This way you don’t inadvertently cause more pain and trouble through continued ignorance. Please keep learning and doing the work – and I’m excited to see how you respond. I feel like I can count on the ABM team to continue to be responsible and thoughtful in this area.

  • This last week for me was one that was uncomfortable, my white bubble in the UK was shocked not only at what was going on in the US, but also how blind I was to some more deep rooted insidious behaviour that was deemed “acceptable” in the UK because there is a persisting notion that calling someone a racial slur, or attacking them is racism and that’s that. It is, but there is also so much more – and so I started on a journey of getting uncomfortable, beginning to understand my privilege and starting to educate myself more on things I had been thoughtless about, and also got out of the “I’m not a PoC therefore I can’t speak about this” zone. I want to be a better ally.

    So anyway, I just wanted to reach out and say that I really respect the decision to have the week away, and to educate. I respect the decision to continue to push for better representation. Thank you.

  • I’ve been thinking about the lack of diversity many times in the 10 years I’ve been following ABM. I know that ABM tries to stay out of politics. which is an inherently political act in-and-of itself and speaks volumes, but am glad to see this move in the right direction. To be quite frank, my readership has waned drastically over the past couple of years BECAUSE of the lack of representation. I’m a queer, Two-Spirit, Indigenous person. It would be amazing to see more POC and more queer POC on your platform. Black, Black/Afro Indigenous, and Indigenous folks are severely under represented.

    Seeing as it’s Pride Month, I would be remiss not to mention Stonewall and the INTEGRAL (they literally began it) role black transwomen played. Ne, they led those riots. American history was changed forever because of them. There can’t be BLM without Black transwomen being included and honored in that.

    • As a Black woman, I do appreciate this because I’ve never felt like this blog was inclusive and representative of people like me. I’ve been reading for almost a decade. Most craft and DIY blogs feel like they’re by white women, for white women.

      My main issue with this is that it is NOT our responsibility or job to find Black and other POC content creators for you. I don’t know if you’re just asking for feedback from the community, but it says a lot that you have to solicit us to do the work for you when it comes to finding BIPOC. Do you not talk to associate with Black people in your day to day life? Do you not follow or interact with any Black bloggers that share your interests?

      I don’t mean this in a bad way. Privledged white people need to be called out so they can address their unconscious biases and really take an honest look at how much white supremacy is a part of your life. Please do better.

  • I’d strongly encourage y’all to look at local and national Black orgs or Black creatives you can support with your $$. Because the ACLU is all about upholding the Constitution, which is a pretty racist document, they have defended white supremacists, terrorists, etc and will continue to do so until there is sweeping legal reform.

  • thank you for taking this stand i’m with you all the way with your commitment has made me want to spend @a beautiful mess see you soon.
    ps i’ll be send some fellow crafters who care your way

  • Long time reader here, learning and adjusting as well. I’m happy to hear you’re committing to that! Inclusive representation in posts and donations are incredible actions.

    I really hope you’ll consider swapping brands associated with URBN (Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie/Free People), that are known for their theft of smaller, non-corporate designers (that’s why everything is so cute), their exploitation of labor, and negative impact on the environment. All of these practices are racism rooted within a supply chain. See recent headlines about Anthro and how they treat their Black consumers at the end of that supply chain.

    See @amandakorina on IG: She shares a list of Black-owned Home/Home Decor Brands that you can swap out for URBN; Check out lists on Etsy and Apartment Therapy for others.

    I found this out in the last two weeks, so my intent is to share not shame. Thank you for committing to looking inward as a company!

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