As we start to transition out of our week-long pause…we’re trying to figure out exactly what TME will look like, long-term. ‘Business as usual’ is NOT the goal. And after a week of reading and reflecting and discussing and soul-searching…I am hopeful we can find the right balance. Here are a few concrete things we are doing now:

1. Increasing our coverage of black-owned businesses is one commitment that the entire team is excited about. This excitement is due, in no small part, to the insanely amazing gems we found in our Black-Owned Business Directory. You can see each editor’s top picks in the special edition of our Weekly Sales Report (and my top picks are here).

2. OOOO…THIS. Additionally, for the month of June, the “OOOO…THIS” section of our daily newsletter will be from Black-owned businesses. (If you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter here.)

3. Lobbying affiliate companies to onboard more black-owned businesses. Influencers make money by using affiliate links when linking to products we recommend. The brands make money because they sell more products, and the affiliate marketing companies make money by taking a cut for enabling these transactions. It’s a win-win for everyone โ€” including consumers โ€” because money is only made if you genuinely love and keep the products. There is no doubt that many of the black-owned businesses (featured in our directory) would benefit from being part of these affiliate networks, but I know from experience that it’s sometimes tough to get through the process. Since we have contacts in the industry, The Mom Edit is going to start advocating for black-owned businesses to be onboarded into the affiliate networks we work with. (Either way โ€” whether an affiliate link exists or not โ€” we will work to make 15% of our content support black-owned businesses.)

4. Raising up black voices. We’re going to start exploring guest posting opportunities on The Mom Edit, especially by black women. And every week we’ll be highlighting a few black influencers on our IG channel (@themomedit). Note: if you aren’t already following TME contributors Kat (@thekatrinanichole) and Tiarra (@beingtiarra) on IG…start there! And I have mad respect for Tiffany Moon (@thenorthernbelleofthesouth) if you haven’t yet followed her. Oh! If you happen to be on TikTok…our Kat is kiiiiiind of a Tik-Tok star. She’s promised to do a Tik-Tok primer for moms, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. We’re also going to continue having conversations about racism here on TME. We’re going to continue our push to educate ourselves, and we’re going to continue to talk about being actively anti-racist (as well as raising anti-racist kids). I think it’s OK to be uncomfortable! And if you โ€” like me โ€” found yourself “surprised” these last few years by how racist America really is…I sincerely hope you stick around.

6. And YES. Using the word ‘Black’. We had many team meetings last week, just to keep checking in. During one of them โ€” while trying to come up with a name for our Black-Owned Business Directory โ€” we collectively realized that some of us were interchangeably using the term POC (people of color) with Black. Or that sometimes we felt compelled to say “African-American” instead of Black. It turns out that several of us โ€” especially those of us who grew up in a well-intentioned but misguided ‘see no color” community like myself โ€” were hesitant to use the word Black to describe people. It was one of those uncomfortable/embarrassing discussions that are SO important to have right now. The answer (in case it isn’t already obvious): Black is NOT a bad word. It’s OK to use it. And read this 2018 article by Tolani Shoneye, As a Black Woman, I Hate the Term, ‘People of Color’. The situation she describes in the opening will likely sound all too familiar. And if you are curious about the term African-American, as @jenerous points out here (slide 5), “…do we specifically mean African-Americans? Not all Black people come from African descent.” Got it.

7. De-Colonizing our bookshelves (kids and adults). There are a ton of book lists on this topic already, but diversifying your bookshelf is such a worthwhile, easy and, ultimately, fun thing to do. I’m working on a post about my favorite kids’ books that features non-white characters, and Lex is coming out with some ideas for us adults. (If you want a little sneak peek…I’m currently putting all of my favorites into this list on Bookshop.org.). Is it worth creating another list for older kids? That list won’t be as long, but I do have several books in mind….

8. Getting educated on systemic racism. I hear too many white people condemn police violence against black people without realizing that that is only the tip of the iceberg. Police violence is a symptom of a much bigger problem. The real issue? Systemic racism. I’ve been searching for an article that summarizes the topic nicely…and couldn’t find anything I was happy with. This video, however, does a decent job of attempting to summarize systemic racism in 4 minutes. I watched it a few times with my son (Raines), and it’s a good one. We had to keep pausing to talk through the concepts (despite the animation it is made for adults), but is totally worth a watch. A good starting point.

9. Donating. One consistent message โ€” heard loud and clear from the people who are black โ€” is that one important way for white people to support is by donating. The Mom Edit will be donating directly to bail relief efforts and…others. Not trying to be secretive โ€” we literally don’t yet know. There are a ton of possibilities we’re working through as a team, trying to make a thoughtful decision. (And let us know if you want to hear which organizations we ultimately end up donating to.)

10. Doing some mind stretching. This past week was the first time I heard the phrase ‘Defund the Police’ and my gut reaction was immediately ‘NO. WRONG’. But as more information trickles out…it’s got me thinking. I did NOT realize, for example, that the annual budget of the NYPD is $6 billion. That amount gives me pause. According to this article in the Atlantic, $6B is more than NY’s “Department of Health, the Department of Homeless Services, the Department of Youth Services, and the Department of Employment Services combined.” Six billion is also more than the WHO (World Heath Organization), and more than the GDP of at least 50 countries. That’s….a ton of money spent on policing. And then I came across this set of slides that goes through common scenarios and how they could be handled in a defunded police situation. It’s intriguing and thought-provoking. (ps. It looks like the original slides came from this event.) As we move forward together, I am going to try and do a little less gut-responding and more open listening.

And lastly…let’s spread a little Philly love….Despite the protests and pandemic, one Philadelphia couple tied the knot last weekend โ€” downtown Philly โ€” and celebrated in the midst of a protest. The resulting pictures are both sweet and powerful. An epic moment.

Welcome, Skaters. Also, skateboarders joined in the protest and the footage is kiiiind of awesome.

xo,

S

23 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, Shana and team for all you are doing to 1) validate the situation at hand; 2) bringing awareness and encouragement to thoughtful dialogue and acceptance on your platform; 3) asking folks to step out of their comfort zones for needed change and 4) being receptive to feedback.

    You have a platform, no doubt, but what some might not realize is that platform is both a blessing and a curse. You are expected to be all in, all the time, in all circumstances. I congratulate you for having the energy to meet that challenge. When it’s easy, you say let’s make it worthwhile, when it’s hard, you say, let’s not shy away from the tough. You are not afraid to face a challenging situation, regardless of the personal impact – for that alone, you should be proud.

    You referenced your Dad in a recent article and how he might take pause…I’ve no doubt your Dad is smiling, saying “that’s my girl, I always said she was fire and that’s exactly what this world needs to be a better place”…

    Thank you for all you are doing…reading your articles as well as those of your contributors and feedback from readers has been enlightening to me personally. Thank you for that ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep on!

  2. Iโ€™d love book list for diff age kids. Mine are 8, 10 and 12. There are so many books out there and Iโ€™m trying to get as many recommendations as possible. I appreciate and value your voices. (For myself, an adult list would be helpful as well!)

    Alsoโ€”any good news sites for kids? Especially for my 12 year old. Sheโ€™s very independent and loves to self educate. She has access to a laptop but no device of her own yet so a website would be best for her. Thanks.

  3. I donโ€™t know what reading levels your kids are at, but the Keena Ford series is a fantastic series for middle grade readers!

  4. I can help you round up recommendations for YA books if needed! There are SO many great ones out there right now featuring characters from all kinds of backgrounds (in fact, my summer class–Identity and Injustice in YA Literature–just started yesterday).

  5. Can you please include graphic novels in your book list for kids? I have a 9yo who will devour any graphic novel you hand her but finally admitted to skimming chapter books ๐Ÿ™

  6. You could try CNN10- it’s a 10 minute daily news briefing for kids, with a mix of current events and other stuff like travel, environment. It’s brief but could be jumping off point. My 11yo used it for eLearning and really liked it.

  7. I started subscribing to The Mom Edit because my adored and adorable niece is a contributor.
    At the age of 75, I was sure that your clothing recommendations would not be for me, but I thought that, to be a good aunt, I should at least see what The Mom Edit is up to. Shana, I can’t tell you how very surprised and extremely touched I’ve been to read everything that you are doing and saying about the horribly entrenched racism in this country. You are a rare and much-needed voice–and, most important, a woman of action–in the fashion-related world. Keep up the great and brave work. By the way, I’m loving your black-owned-business features, and, who knows, I may be tempted to buy something despite my age! You guys are the best!

  8. Hi, Shana. The nonprofict weneeddiversebooks.org is an organization of writers, illustrators, teachers, and librarians, as well as interested people. They provide a variety of programs such as mentoring for new writers and illustrators, classroom ideas, and book lists. There’s also the society of children’s book writers and illustrators (www.scbwi.org), an international organization of professionals in the book business. You might want to take a look at these websites and include information about them in a column or list of books for kids book shelves. They’re great organizations which I belong to as a creative writing teacher, a mom in a multicultural family, and writer of young adult books.

  9. This is great. I really appreciate all you are doing to bring black voices, perspectives, businesses, etc. onto your site. You have served as one of the most solid and widely-encompassing resources for me during this time. Your explanation about the term ‘black’ versus People of Color helped so much. Thank you.

  10. THANK YOU SHANA!!! I love what you are doing and how you are doing it–with your incredible honesty, integrity, and wisdom. I want you to know that although I have been in allyship with the black and brown families at my kiddos’ very diverse school for some time, your article on Ahmaud Arbery was what lit my fire to take bigger and braver action. THANK YOU, again. You are leading your team bravely and beautifully.

  11. #10 was new for me too. I’ve started watching this conversation/interview on youtube and it’s really interesting: tps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4ofj__h7ss

  12. Iโ€™d love anti-racist resources for kids (age 6-8) in other forms of media besides books. My kids are certainly getting more screen time lately so movies, series, video games, etc would be great. Board games would also be good.

  13. Thank you all for your continued commitment to doing the right thing, even when it’s difficult. This is really helpful.

  14. Thank you! I am so pleased with your content and commitment to doing the work. You are setting an example and providing so many helpful resources.

  15. I would love a book list for older kids! (My own kids go up to age 11.) When they were young, I actively sought picture books with non-white characters, specifically bi-racial to ‘match’ our family, but have found chapter books a bit more challenging since it’s not as simple as a quick look at the cover or flip through the pages. Furthermore, the characters need to be portrayed well, not existing as a stereotype or a one-dimensional ‘diverse friend to make main character seem hip’. And they have to want to read them without it seeming like *I* want them to read them. So on that note, I’d really appreciate fantasy recommendations! I can suggest Zoey and Sassafras, From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, American Girl novels, which have all been picked up by my kids. (I haven’t read them personally)

    My initial reaction to Defund the Police was definitely “wait, what?? like, no police at all??” but I was similarly compelled by numbers like you posted. (fellow math nerd)

    And that’s a LOT of skateboarders!

  16. For those of you who asked for graphic novels, PLEASE get the series “March” by the amazing John Lewis. If you don’t recognize his name, you’d recognize him from the footage of the March across the bridge in Selma, the Freedom Rides through the deep south, the lunch counter sit-ins, and the 1963 March on Washington. He’s currently a Congressman from Georgia and is battling pancreatic cancer. The novels are amazing and so is he!

  17. One more suggestion (I’m a history teacher who is privileged to focus on human rights, identity appreciation, and the membership/power dynamic, and I spend my ‘free time’ reading great blogs like this one!): to the TME team and any reader who wants resources, including kids’ books: join the organizations http://www.tolerance.org and http://www.facinghistory.org . Films, novels, discussion topics, strategies, etc. etc.

  18. This is in my top 5 articles I’ve read from the Mom Edit in the past 8ish years of reading! Thank you for providing concrete examples of how your team will be moving forward. My only suggestion is to NOT put a timeline on how long you will be doing this work (specifically referencing #2 about the newsletter). Anti racism work is ongoing and will not end after a month. We need long term commitment from white people to fight the system racism and injustices occurring in our country.

  19. What about trying to not link items from retailers known to have racist policies and/or leadership? I realize the concensus changes and this is a business, but I’ve pretty unanimously read online this week that URBN is thoroughly rotten from political donations to retail theft policies to cultural misappropriation to BIPOC artist theft and has been for years. I only check in here once a week (#momlife) but it’s a bit dissonant to read this manifesto, then go forward a few posts and see dozens of affiliate links to Anthropologie.

    There’s a lot of gray area and nuance in this arena for sure, and no one can expect perfection from anyone else.

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