In the past couple of weeks there has been a really important discussion happening about inclusivity and race in the knitting/crochet community both on Instagram and on Ravelry. The discussion has been about the explicit and implicit bias that we as a community need to address. You can read more about this on this Ravelry thread.
Our first reaction at Birdhouse Yarns is that we should follow the principles that Kayla Reed identifies in the following acrostic and Ravelry’s Casey introduced to us in our actions and our words.
A – always center on the impacted
L – listen & learn from those who live in the oppression
L – leverage your privilege
Y – yield the floor.
For the past couple of weeks we’ve been quiet, listening and learning, reading about experiences and asking questions of how we can do better at Birdhouse Yarns so that our yarn community might be as diverse as the larger community we live in.
What can we do so that all yarn lovers feel welcomed in our community?
While we must continue to listen and learn, we also recognised that if we were completely silent on this matter it might indicate to our community that we didn’t care, that we were oblivious to this important conversation or don’t think this conversation necessary and no action on our part was needed.
Our goal is, and always has been, that all those who love yarn feel equally welcomed into the store. If you love yarn, you are welcome here-it is important to us that our community reflect the diversity of our community outside, whether in skin color or ancestry, whether by wide range of cultures and religions, whether you identify as she/her/they/him/he, as straight, bi or gay, we hope and will actively work so that you identify as “Welcome” at Birdhouse. Bring your knitting or crochet and join us around the table and let’s love on yarn together.
Beyond such a statement and it’s reflection in our actions within the shop what else can we do?
1. We can make sure that what we reflect on our social media platforms is representative of the diversity of the knitting and crochet community, so that all yarn lovers know they are valued.
2. We will not allow algorithms to dictate the beauty of design we see, but will consciously seek out diverse knit and crochet designers when highlighting designs because such actions counter the imbalance in representation and can have a positive economic impact.
3. Representation – When representation comes to modelling our samples we struggle as we predominately rely upon Rachel’s daughter Ila, and Sam, as our unpaid models, such is the reality of a small family business, but we recognise this as a problem and are actively trying to address this.
4. We will continue to reflect on our own bias and privilege, and listen and learn from those who have been subjected to racism in our community and will leverage our privilege to address these wrongs.