What an intense and exhausting year it’s been. And it’s only June.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks processing the latest efforts and activity in the Black Lives Matter movement, both what it means personally as well as what it means for this space. The latter, I admit, can feel really challenging at times–I feel the pressure of trying to do the right thing, and it can be scary to open yourself up to judgment from strangers on the internet. We are all doing our best, and it’s often imperfect.
A message I saw on a protest sign really resonated with me: “Black lives matter is the minimum.” Black lives are worthy, loved, and needed. Police brutality, particularly against Black populations, needs to stop. Systemic racism needs to be aggressively challenged and uprooted. All of us can play a role in creating a more just, anti-racist world. I have been encouraged to see so much change take place in such a short time, such as the changes in policing policy in communities across America as well as the renewed accountability being placed on private organizations, like CrossFit.
Elevating Black Voices
As I took time to reflect, I noticed that out of the dozens of activewear brands I have purchased or browsed, very few are owned or led by non-white individuals. Black-owned brands in particular are extremely under-represented in the active fashion space. I could not find any Black-owned active brands stocked by major retailers, with the exception of Beyoncé’s Ivy Park brand, which is currently between collections as a collaboration with Adidas.
In addition to the lack of representation of Black-owned brands in the activewear industry, I’ve reflected on the blogging and influencer spheres as well. When I look at the lineup of highly successful bloggers and influencers, I see that we are failing at representation. The influencer space has a racial diversity problem. It is a huge loss to all of us to miss out on the energy and perspective of diverse voices in content creation.
I’m not an expert. I only have my own experiences and I don’t have all the answers. But we need to do better at elevating Black voices in these spaces.
One of the steps I’m taking is to be more mindful of the content I’m consuming, both personally and as a creator in the blogging community. Looking at the creators and influencers I follow and interact with, I’m asking myself how I can create more space for, listen to, and amplify a more diverse range of voices. We will all have more enriched lives when we get to enjoy the work of content creators from all races, body types, and walks of life.
Agent Athletica’s purpose includes elevating women, promoting fitness and health, and encouraging outdoor recreation. As another action point, I’m committing to monetary support for the organizations below that work at the intersection of AA’s mission and racial justice. I’d love for you to join me, so I will match donations up to $500 (total) to the following organizations:
Loveland Foundation – Fund that provides access to therapy for Black women and girls.
Black Girls Run Foundation – Promotes and supports health and fitness among Black women, specifically through running.
Black Outside – Promotes Black youth in the outdoor community. One of their programs, Camp Founder Girls, is a summer camp for Black girls.
If you’d like AA to match your donation, email me a confirmation of your donation. Please do so by June 30th, at which point I’ll send lump sums to each organization.
While this post primarily reflects the actions I’m taking as a content creator, I’m continuing to identify areas of action in my personal life that aren’t captured in this post. For resources on how to be a better ally and support the Black Lives Matter movement, refer to this list.
The United States was quite literally built on the oppression of people of color, particularly Black people. I can only imagine the challenges that Black Americans face that I take for granted, and I can’t fully grasp the pain of navigating a society that hasn’t yet fully overcome our oppressive and discriminatory roots.
It’s time to do better.