Over the past month, we have seen a renewed movement for Black lives in response to racist police brutality. The Black Lives Matter movement has found support on a global scale and we must continue to amplify that call until the inherent and systemic racism that has plagued America since before its inception is eradicated. This means dismantling capitalism, defunding the police, abolishing prisons, and exposing voter suppression and political corruption. This means electing officials that can enact change at every level of government, from a local D.A. to the President, while also understanding how the system of political power is rigged in this country and will never allow the conditions for justice. This means fighting for climate justice and universal healthcare. This means, on a personal level, me and other white people self-reflecting on one’s own inherent racism and educating oneself and others about the true history of racism and oppression in this country.
Savage Mountain Art & Design may be small and have little influence in the capitalist landscape of massive corporations, but it is EVERYONE’S responsibility to examine their complicity, and use their position, platform, and power to lift up the people, communities, and voices that have been oppressed. To see oneself as outside of these harmful systems is a privilege and a farce.
So I have been asking myself, as a white owner and creator of a small business, how can I uphold and support the Black Lives Matter movement, as a person, and as a business, while continuing to engage in a capitalist system that is by definition racist and exploitative? How can I continue to push my own material products to turn a profit, while Black people are literally being murdered by the very same system allowing me to earn that profit?
I have addressed wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability in my work at Savage Mountain Art & Design, but those are only a few strings in an inextricably connected web of humanitarian and environmental crises that impacts our planet. I continue to learn about how environmental justice must center Black and Indigenous people in order to result in any meaningful change. It is not enough to address one part of a crisis while ignoring, or indeed, contributing to another.
So how then, can I reconcile continuing the work that I do if it does just that? How can my business support Black Lives Matter without being exploitative and performative? There is no single solution to this paradox. There are questions I continue to sit with.I cannot operate my business or even continue to survive outside of the current capitalist system, as no other option yet exists, but what I can do, is understand my position within that system, and use that influence—no matter how small—to minimize harm.
In order to do this, Savage Mountain Art & Design, pledges to do the following:
Redirect and redistribute a percentage of funds towards organizations that are directly advocating for and promoting Black and Indigenous Lives and Communities as well as environmental organizations.
Thoroughly research all brands and materials that go into our products and only use those that are ethically sourced. This means materials that are not only environmentally sound, but also brands that do not use prison labor or other inhumane modes of production.
We will hold ourselves accountable. All of our research and data will be available to you, the public, so that you too, can make ethical decisions and know that there is action behind our words.