OK, What Now?

My Personal Action Items

This has been a week of learning. It’s going to be a big year of  learning. When I think about it, my own work has barely started.

As I begin posting more fashion / lifestyle / beauty / book content again I want to talk a little bit about how I plan to move forward. This blog is not CNN, nor is it a social justice blog or a news website. You come to me for lightness, fashion & beauty, books, home decor, and so on and so forth. I recognize that. I am a break in your day, sometimes I’m you’re guilty pleasure. That being said, I have never been afraid of standing up for what is right and will continue to do so.

I’m a big believer that you can (and must!) “do both.” You can write about fashion and care about politics. You can love terrible TV and geek out over nerdy historical documentaries. You can love reading the classics and also the more lowbrow things. As human beings we are complex and multi-dimensional. We can do both. And we need to do both in this case: what is happening right now is not political, it’s about humanity and inequity.

I want to start with an apology. As I read So You Want to Talk About Race, I have realized that the biggest thing that has made me a part of the problem is thinking that I am not a part of the problem. Does that make sense? If it doesn’t, please, please please read this book. It’s an important book. I’m only 7 chapters in, and of course I’ll share what I learn but I cannot do the work for you. We all have to do it ourselves. I’m sorry that I have thought I was doing enough. I’m sorry that I thought I was an ally when I was only scratching the surface. And I’m sorry that I haven’t highlighted enough Black content-creators and small businesses.

I have always wanted this blog to be an inclusive place where everyone feels welcome. And I’m so incredibly sorry if you are a Black {or POC!} reader and you’ve ever come here and felt unwelcome or isolated. I’m sure I will be sorry for much more. I’m sure I’ll mess up but please know I am very actively trying to make sure that’s not the case but I know at some point it probably will be.

Saying I’m sorry and acknowledging all this doesn’t make it better but I am committing to spending the next twelve months (and beyond) educating myself, putting in the work, learning, and doing better. Today I wanted to share my personal action items.

My Personal Action Items:

With my brand partners…

Develop an inclusivity rider for the brands I work with. I’ve already started emailing brands in existing contracts about this. {To do this week.}

With my money…

I pledge to donate $1,000 every month for the next 12 months to a different Black-focused organization. This month I donated to Campaign Zero. {Done for June, ongoing for the next twelve months}

As so many of the books I feature this month are from Black authors and social justice books, I don’t want to profit from sharing their works. I am donating 100% of my June affiliate revenue from Bookshop.org to Campaign Zero. This was a hot button and one that I understand, books are a funny thing – for as much as I talk about books I don’t earn a lot from them! (last month I earned just under $237 which I donated to Semicolon’s amazing #ClearTheShelves fundraiser.) {I will update you on my total donation on July 1st!}

We moved the date of my Amazon collection (it was going to be this week but we moved it out one more week to give the more important things their due focus). I am pledging to donate 15% of my cut of sales from that to Black Lives Matter.

With reading and book features…

I talked about this earlier but will read at least one anti-racist book a month for the next twelve months. The full list (I think?) is 21 books so will need to double up some months. I’m excited! PLEASE NOTE (and I am sorry if this sounds harsh!) I will NOT be doing book reports for you. I’m only saying this as I received so, so, so many well-intentioned “Can’t wait for your recap!” and “Can’t wait for you to share what you learn!” messages. I am really glad you are excited too, but I cannot do the work for you. I want you to read these books with me. And I will share what I learn and how they make me feel but this is something we all need to do, on our own. And then yes, let’s talk about it afterward!!! {Ongoing, for the next 12 months}

I’m pledging to read at least 50% books by POC with an emphasis on Black authors. AT LEAST. Why? It is SO important to read more books with minority protagonists. Reading books with a main character who is different from you puts you in their shoes. But also, the #PublishingPaidMe hashtag over on twitter blew my mind and only further proved the importance of supporting Black authors. Spend some time reading it. It’s going to blow your mind.  {Ongoing, for the next 12 months}

With my everyday content…

I will continue to work to highlight the content of both Black content-creators and Black-owned small businesses. {Ongoing, forever and ever!?}

Develop {and share!} a broader mission statement for The Stripe. {To do this week and next, to share by month end.}

With my time and influence…

I’m pledging to run at least one free “ad” or feature per week to feature a Black-owned brand. {More info in this instagram; email grace at thestripe.com if interested} I will caveat that the brand still needs to be something I truly love and would use/wear myself, and if it’s a beauty brand I need to test it. Everything I feature here is always fully vetted. {ongoing for the next 12 months.}

I’m pledging fourteen hours of my time this month (it was originally ten but fourteen reached out) to talk to fellow Black content-creators to chat and find ways that I can help them grow their businesses.

I’m sure this list will evolve over time. To some, this will sound like a lot. To others, it will feel like a little. But I personally feel really good about it and am excited to move forward. Please know that this is my TOP priority.

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. Happy to see you constantly learning and making a positive change! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Rachelle says 6.8.20

    the part about not doing a book report made me giggle. Good for you Grace 🙂

    xo
    Pinksole

  3. LP says 6.8.20

    Thank you for always walking the walk and talking the talk! Appreciate how genuine and transparent you consistently are.

  4. This post seriously gave me ALL the feels! You’re amazing and as an influencer myself, I am taking this post and trying to implement as much as I can into my own brand! THANK YOU for using your voice and space so powerfully!!

    xoxo
    Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl

  5. Yoyo says 6.8.20

    This is amazing. Best list of action items I have seen so far from an “influencer.” Good for you for using your influence for good!

  6. Charnele says 6.8.20

    This is what putting in the work and being an ally looks like!

  7. Ellen says 6.8.20

    Grace, you are handling this all with such grace! (No pun intended!)

    I wanted to point out that Scribd has a free trial and has “snapshots” of non-fiction books. They’re 10-20 minute reads and gives the synopsis of books. Only saying that because if someone has small children or doesn’t have a lot of time (essential workers!) because they can get a free trial and read snapshots of some popular anti-racist books. Just wanted to throw that out there. xoxo <3

  8. raq says 6.8.20

    Grace- this is why you are one of my favorite bloggers! Can’t wait to read along with you and do the work!

  9. Molly says 6.8.20

    This is so great, and I’m excited to follow along! On the book front, I started with Me and White Supremacy and it is so hard to decide what to read next.

  10. Suzanne says 6.8.20

    Wanted to echo what others are saying – I’ve always been impressed with your content and pledges and this is no exception!

    Reading books written by people of “other cultures” is so valuable. Personally, my boyfriend is Palestinian and comes from a very conservative family. For the past couple years, I’ve made it a focus to read books by Middle Eastern and/or Muslim authors and I can’t understate how insightful it’s been. Of course the more informational books have been key as well, but I think I would have missed out on a lot if I hadn’t gone further.

  11. Erika says 6.8.20

    Thank you for your leadership, Grace! I am on this journey with you and will be developing a list like this for myself.

  12. Jen says 6.8.20

    Grateful for these thoughts and how you are putting yourself out there. Excited to be learning from your journey as I undertake my own!

  13. Nicole says 6.8.20

    Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin is phenomenal! First person to win the HUGO (science fiction’s big award) three times in a row. They were written by and feature a Black female protagonist.

    https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2917917.N_K_Jemisin

    • thank you for the rec! Taking a peek now!

      • Christine says 6.13.20

        The audiobook versions of these are phenomenal, narrated by the incomparable Bahni Turpin.

  14. Rebecca says 6.8.20

    i love all of this! amazing!

  15. Anne says 6.8.20

    Grace, your thoughtfulness and cohesive strategy are examples of a way forward. I’m a college professor and I devote my work life to promoting and supporting students of color. In my non-work life, I have not done enough. I am committing to severa action steps including learning, donating, and amplifying voices. Thank you for the inspiration.

  16. Julia Marie Dellitt says 6.8.20

    love the reminder for readers to do their own work and embark on their own journeys. as white people, it’s so important to remember that anti-racism education and work is not for self-improvement purposes, per Rachel Cargle. i’ve seen a lot of words like “excited” thrown around in terms of what people are reading and watching… and i get it because i’ve made that mistake, too! but this work is not so we can check a box and feel pleased with our efforts – it’s to actually dismantle systems of oppression. anyway, thank you for all you’ve shared thus far around your priorities and what we’ll see on the blog. long-term fan/reader and appreciate knowing where you’re putting your focus/resources as an influencer!

    • yes, I loved that remark. And as someone who throws around words like “yay” and “excited” etc it made me be more mindful of how I speak about this.

  17. Sarah says 6.8.20

    I love this. One of the biggest things I need to do is hold myself accountable. How do I keep these front of mind all the time?

    • Yes! Highly recommend writing down your action items and checking in on your progress every month!

  18. Caroline says 6.8.20

    Thank you, Grace!! It is so helpful to see your work in the world and have it double my own efforts. Proud to be a fan of The Stripe, Bad on Paper, and who I follow.

  19. Christine says 6.8.20

    Love all of this Grace and your transparency. I’m working on a list of my own and this has helped me cement some thoughts and give me some further ideas.

  20. Analiese says 6.8.20

    Thank you for your genuine commitment to learning and, most importantly, taking action. It’s inspiring to see.

  21. Janet says 6.8.20

    A really great source for books by diverse authors is the NPR best books list that comes out every year. You’ll find books by black authors in a wide assortment of genres.

  22. Emily says 6.8.20

    Thank you for sharing your commitment to concrete actions (and not just messages). Your platform here is so powerful, it’s heartening to see it used responsibly and makes me even more committed to reading your blog.

  23. Zoe says 6.8.20

    This is a great post and as a reader, you sharing the exact steps and numbers makes me WANT to support you and see you thrive so others can thrive too. I’ll be following and reading!

  24. Emily says 6.8.20

    So many bloggers I follow have been posting anti-racism books and still have affiliate links, so I wonder if they are making profit a profit off them, and I appreciate you being honest and open about where your money is going!! I can’t wait to read along with you.
    I also really admire you for delaying your Amazon collection again. I imagine you are so ready to launch it after all the delays, but I love that you are taking the time to instead highlight POC and raise up their voices and businesses during this important time.

  25. joy says 6.8.20

    This is amazing. It’s clear you’ve put both thought and humility into your plan. I appreciate you making this a part of your conversations here – I think it helps normalize them, and show that they don’t have to happen only in “serious” spaces.

  26. Jen says 6.8.20

    This is incredible and I’m proud to be a reader/follower/influencee. Thank you!

  27. Ellen Maguire says 6.8.20

    Thank you, Grace. I’ve learned a lot from you already and am enjoying shopping from the Black owned brands you’ve already featured.

    I am a work in progress as well. I’m committed to allyship!

    X Ellen

  28. Katie says 6.9.20

    I am so inspired by this to write out my actionable steps going forward, like you did here. Thank you for holding yourself – and us – accountable.

    You’re my favourite blogger for a reason; your integrity, compassion and willingness to get uncomfortable and self-examine are just some of the many reasons why!

  29. Kristen says 6.9.20

    Thank you for using your platform to stand and educate. Simply by being you you are teaching many who would and will turn away from this when the moment passes. WE will be the change.

  30. Heidi says 6.9.20

    THANK YOU, Grace. This post is inspirational, and I feel lucky to have discovered your blog earlier this year. Appreciate you keeping your content real, raw and honest always. It’s a breath of fresh air within the world of influencers/social media. We all have to keep each other on track as we continue to learn about and feel comfortable discussing racism and the horrid acts happening within our society. As a white woman, I know I have a looonnng way to go in learning about racism, and your resources have been a strong starting point.

    • Thanks Heidi! We have a long way to go and I’m happy that my posts can be a starting point!

  31. Jen says 6.10.20

    Thanks for sharing what you are doing, I find hearing about others actions really helpful for inspiring my own. Love your blog and the way you use your platform.

  32. W B says 6.11.20

    Would be really interested in a round up of BIPOC owned bookstores to order from right now!

  33. Amanda says 6.14.20

    I always love to read your thoughts and insights but lately I’ve taken so much more from your personal reflections. It has influenced me to reflect as well. I am bringing these reflections to my son for learning moments. (We are personally committed to reading more kids books and bringing kid friendly brands from POC into our home) So thank you for your openness and honesty in your journey.

  34. Tara says 6.14.20

    “I have realized that the biggest thing that has made me a part of the problem is thinking that I am not a part of the problem.” 100% YES! Thank you for this post—looking forward to learning along with you.