Brooklyn Tweed has been fortunate to be continually called in by our community of knitters to take a stand against racism and bigotry. We hear each call, and with each moment of action renew earnest conversations with each other as teammates and as a company to move beyond being “not racist” in our daily business interactions and actually engage in anti-racist work.
While some of us at Brooklyn Tweed hold marginalized identities, our current team is comprised of white people and we recognize the privileges that come with that. These privileges carry over into the work we do daily in the yarn and knitting industry, and as such we are in a unique position to use those privileges to move this industry towards equitability.
We do not tolerate racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, or otherwise bigoted ideologies in our spaces or in the making community in general. We also recognize that actions speak louder than any statement we could make here; below are the current action items we’re working on, as well as a timeline that we commit to being held accountable to.
By no means is this list of action items exhaustive or complete. This is an imperfect collection of pledges and commitments to act and our team will continue to nurture and update this list as we move forward in our work:
- We pledge to take every precaution to ensure our spaces — including social media pages, online communities, office headquarters, partner stockists, and event spaces — are as safe as possible for marginalized people.
- We will not tolerate behavior or words that compromise the safety of a marginalized person.
- We will respond swiftly and decisively when and if such behavior is called to our attention, and we will take responsibility for maintaining our own vigilance against intolerance, rather than waiting for someone else to call it to our attention.
- As flawed people navigating our own privilege and socialization, we recognize that we are not immune to making mistakes or committing harmful actions, even if they are unintentional. We will hold ourselves accountable and open to feedback and critique from marginalized people about how we can do better, and accept such critique with gratitude and humility rather than defensiveness, fear or anger.
- We will hold ourselves responsible for our emotions, and center impact over intent. We will apologize and correct our course when and if we are called in to do better.
- We will continue to seek out business partners in the industry who demonstrate– in word and deed– their values around hiring, training, and retaining employees who are from marginalized groups.
- We commit to holding our business partners and supply chain members accountable to fair and equitable treatment of their employees.
- We recognize that real change requires uplifting marginalized members of our community to positions of leadership, creating space for marginalized communities to shape the future of knitting and the fiber arts industry and we will continue to seek opportunities to work with minority- and women-owned businesses whenever possible.
- We commit to increasing the diversity of the wool producers we work with as we source our domestically-grown wool in the future.
- We will continue to work with models (both professional and non-professional) who represent a diversity of race, skin tone, size, age, ability, and gender.
- We will continue to seek opportunities to work with historically underrepresented groups for all of our outside contractors, such as hair and makeup artists, editors, designers, sample knitters, and other skilled professionals.
- In all of our design submission calls, we will continue to include language that specifically invites designers from marginalized groups to participate. We will also continue to proactively contact designers directly to invite them to submit their work.
- We will continue to ask designers who work with us to be mindful of the diversity of bodies that wear knitted garments/accessories.
- Our existing size range for garment patterns includes six sizes intended for chest sizes ranging from 34 inches to 54 inches. We are expanding this size range by adding one smaller size and two larger sizes to our existing sizing chart. We have re-graded the entire chart to ensure measurements are properly aligned from size to size. This expanded sizing is being implemented by our Wool People 14 designers who are currently creating their designs, to be publicly launched in April 2020.
- We pledge to remove intended ease language from future patterns, and instead list only finished garment dimensions, sample size(s) shown, and ease as shown on model(s). These changes will be implemented in 2020 pattern launches.
- We are examining our use of gender for both how our patterns are written as well as photographed. In the future, patterns that include waist shaping will include instructions for no waist shaping, and vice versa, as well as noting places to lengthen torsos and arms, in order to provide instruction for garment alterations to fit more bodies regardless of gender beginning with 2020 pattern launches.
- We pledge to maintain and nurture relationships with our retail stockists which are owned by women, non-binary people, trans people, or other people of other marginalized identities and/or owned by people of color.
- We pledge to seek out more shops that are owned by marginalized people.
- We commit to adding questions to our LYS Questionnaire by the end of August 2019 regarding what the shops are doing to foster an environment of equity and inclusion, what their pronouns are, and also to ask how they ensure their space is ADA accessible.
- We pledge to add ADA accessible features, such as alt-text, to our electronic communications, including marketing emails, social media posts, and web pages.
- We commit to continuing to work alongside Web Accessibility Specialists certified through the IAAP to increase accessibility and improve ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance on our website.
- We pledge to continue reaching out to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or People of Color) designers to offer yarn support.
- We pledge to increase our general outreach to BIPOC designers, for cross-promotion of designs, sample knitting and pattern development.
- We pledge to continue improving event display layouts for increased accessibility.
- We pledge to display more images of BIPOC models, older models, and models of varying body sizes, genders, ages, and abilities at events we attend.
- We pledge to create and display a wider range of sizes for our sample garments.
- We pledge to offer more yarn reeling/samples for those wanting to work with Brooklyn Tweed yarns but are unable to purchase right away.
- We hosted our first Queer Knit Night at the Brooklyn Tweed headquarters last June. We pledge to host more Queer Knit Nights.
- We are creating an official Brooklyn Tweed Action Plan for situations when we witness a moment of harm, or potential moment of harm, directed at a marginalized group or member of our community modeled after Humboldt State University’s “Check It” program.
- We commit to develop a skills- and cost-accessible "learn to knit" kit by Fall 2020.
- We pledge to finish our B-corp certification assessment as well as create an impact report by the beginning of 2020.
- We pledge to seek learning opportunities on the topics of anti-racism and equity for our staff, beginning with a training facilitated by The People’s Institute, by Spring 2020.
- We pledge to offer learning opportunities for our local makers community, beginning with a workshop hosted by local anti-racist educators by the end of 2019.
- We pledge to seek new partnerships with local community organizations that serve the BIPOC, queer, and houseless communities in Portland, OR.
- We commit to developing a program to ensure access to our products for people of different income levels.
- We will seek opportunities to donate proceeds and/or funds to organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, RAICES Texas, and Rose Haven PDX, who are doing vital work in our society.
- We commit to an inclusion rider.
As always, please feel welcome to contact us with suggestions, feedback, or to hold us accountable to the pledges we have made to you here. You can reach us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This page last updated 07/25/2019)