photo from LAIT DE COCO: Vintage finds & handmade pieces

it has been a really intense few weeks. i spend the majority of my time sharing on instagram & stories, but i’ve been wanting to do a post on here that includes more of what i’m doing as an individual and designlovefest as a company to support Black lives and the movement. I also want to share some resources that have been helpful to me in hopes it might feel encouraging to someone out there. i’m focusing on doing at least one thing every day that furthers my understanding of racism in America and how i can be part of the anti-racist movement.

• LEARNING. i am staying committed to learning for the long haul. i see clearly now that I stayed in a bubble of comfort and was not properly educating myself or standing up for what I believe in. right now, this looks like reading or listening to podcasts on anti-racism. joanie and I are both reading Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad and finding it VERY eye opening. I will be reading How to Be an Anti-Racist next after really enjoying hearing Ibram X. Kendi speak here. this podcast clearly explains white fragility and how important it is to address within myself.

another great way for me to learn is by weaving in educational documentaries during our evenings. these give me a very clear picture of the oppression of Black people and give concrete advice on how to work towards changing it. with knowledge comes power! I found these very very helpful: 13th, I Am Not Your Negro, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, The Central Park 5, The Black Power Mixtape, and Teach Us All.

photo by cold laundry

• DONATIONS. I was inspired by the 15% pledge to have at least 15% of your shelf space include Black businesses. I will be matching this within my own work and donating 15% of all sponsored content this year to an organization fighting anti-racism and advocating for Black lives. we will be supporting a new organization each month, and this will keep us actively looking for new avenues to support in this fight. i’m particularly focused on access to better education to support Black children and more access to mental health services for BIPOC. I will be transparent about where we are donating to and always looking for more suggestions.

The Okra Project is who we will be focusing on in June for our sponsored content donation. they bring home cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black Trans people.

photo: The Okra Project Bartender Jamari Thomas (he/him), The Okra Project Chef Clarke Johnson (they/them)

other places we have donated to: The Loveland Foundation, who provides free access to therapy for Black women and girls. The Conscious Kid who helps provide schools with more books to teach kids about race. Color of Change fighting injustice for Black people. The Equal Justice Initiative provides legal representation for people who are wrongly convicted or denied a fair trial. and Beam, who is focused on healing and wellness in Black and marginalized communities.

recurring donations: when organizations say that any gift helps, big or small, they really mean it. there is a huge influx of giving right now which is amazing but inevitably that will die down and get diverted to other causes that pop up with issues that arise in the next year. one small way that helps me stay invested is to set up recurring donations, even a small amount like the cost of a cup of coffee, given monthly helps a lot. it’s an automatic withdrawal which keeps it consistent and for me, it’s nice to build a relationship with one or two organizations, getting their newsletter, staying up to date on what they are working on over the years, etc.

SUPPORT IN EVERYDAY LIFE. justin and I will be making more conscious efforts to show up and support Black businesses and artists. this means going to more Black owned restaurants (here is a list of more than 200 in LA). this means reading more from Black authors, ordering from Black-owned book stores, ordering a handmade item from a Black artist for our home, like these beautiful wooden brushes from grain and knot.

• HAVING THE CONVERSATIONS. for years i’ve shied away from having difficult conversations with family members and friends because it didn’t feel worth the tension and stress it caused. I sat with the thought “well, at least I’M not racist” and I am seeing now that that is NOT enough. with social media it feels easy to hide behind the posts and comments but one way i think we can create real change by having the hard conversations in person or on the phone. the in-person face to face connection is really lacking in our world today. i’ve made a commitment to listen and/or read anything that someone sends me and think on it and form a thoughtful response rather than react immediately.  i’ve always kind of backed down in intense conversations thinking that it didn’t matter what i thought or no one would listen, but i know now that if i spend the time learning and examining myself and i focus on sharing from my own personal experience and not pointing fingers that communication IS possible. I have seen great results with some of my own family members over the past few weeks.

photos by House of Aama

• SHOWCASING BLACK ARTISTS. if my instagram feed is where I am looking for inspiration, that means I need to be following more Black artists, photographers, and makers so they are naturally on my radar more often. this was lazy on my part to not be actively diversifying my feed to begin with. I have found SO many amazing accounts in the past few weeks. here are a few in this post and I created a highlight on my profile that i’ve been adding to with beautiful Black accounts.

• GETTING POLITICAL EDUCATION. another topic that i’ve shied away from in the past and i want to learn more about is local politics. the people we pick to represent us in our cities and as a nation have a huge amount of push on what issues get addresses and handled and can help in the fight against racism that exists in our local and nationwide systems. a lot of change needs to come from the top down and i want to vote for people who advocate for that change.

Painting by Calida Garcia Rawles

• LOOKING WITHIN. asking myself questions and journaling. for instance, asking myself, “have you tolerated things from family and friends that you really didn’t agree with in order to keep the peace?” can you challenge yourself now to do your best to confront people with grace, clarity and educated responses when this happens in the future?”

or “have you made attempts to cultivate more relationships with Black friends? have you appeared closed-off? have you stayed in your comfort zone with people who have similar realities and don’t challenge your comfortability?”

I am confronting my own inherent bias and making a conscious effort to dismantle it. I am focused on how I can use my privilege in a system that was built for me, to help others have equal opportunities.

much of this work requires presence and stillness within myself. with so much going on in the world, there is such a rush to keep scrolling and reading on our phones but i’ve found that, for myself, that detracts from the learning and work i’m able to do. learning about racism and how i’ve been apart of the system is uncomfortable, but i’m committed to continuing to do it. the journal prompts at the end of each day in “Me and White Supremacy” are powerful. it’s easy to just answer them in my head but to put pen to paper requires a different level of honesty and awareness.

quote by Lalah Delia, art by Ilana Griffo

i love this quote above by Lalah. there is a lot of work to be done and we are dedicated to being a part of the change we so desperately need in our country. xx bri


Add your own

    Evi says:

    Hi Bri! This is one of the best posts about what has been happening these past few weeks. I’m a white woman myself and your post includes everything I need to know about this important issue. BPM

    Jas says:

    I appreciate the depth and thoroughness of this post so dearly. I’m a longtime fan of your blog and an African American woman and am looking forward to seeing you spotlight more black artists. Thank you for being so genuine, thoughtful, and committing to educating yourself and having tough conversations.

    Rosemary says:

    Thanks for this in depth, thoughtful post. I am also looking for ways to contribute to BLM besides donating money to the cause.

    Alexis says:

    Bri –
    As a black woman who has followed your blog for years, I’m happy to see this and also have to express my sadness for it to take this long.
    My only comment on your website was written a few years ago. I asked if your ladies on the beach artwork could include women of color. I never received a reply and would like to hear efforts of representation.

    bri emery says:

    I am sorry I didn’t see that comment in the past. your sadness is warranted. thank you for your comment. sending you love. bri

    Julia says:

    Hi Bri!

    I appreciate this post and I have to say that I agree with Alexis’ comment. I have followed your blog for years now as well and loved the adventures you’ve had with your friends and your recipes. I made sure to purchase your super cute plates and cups when they were at Target b/c not only were they adorable, but as a follower of your blog and a supporter, I wanted you to be successful.

    I think this is the history of many Black women, we give and support even when the favor is not returned. I sincerely don’t think it was intentional that you did not have more inclusion on your site, but the support your Black fans extended to you was not extended to us. I wish I had been more vocal as Alexis was because maybe if there were more amplified voices, you would have been educated sooner.

    As a Black woman, I often don’t feel seen. If you take a step back and check out your favorite shows, social media pages or blogs, you’ll notice how little representation there is of Black women. And, when we are represented we are not nuanced. As of late, my life is all the better because of shows like Insecure. They’ve absolutely made me feel seen.

    I look forward to seeing how your blog will grow now that you are becoming more informed. There are so many of us who want to be seen in the mediums we support.

    bri emery says:

    you absolutely deserve to feel seen and heard. I am sorry I did not make you feel that way in the past.

    Julia says:

    Thank you Bri. I didn’t necessarily want an apology, but I’m grateful. I’m sincerely looking forward to the content you’re going to create & share. Just by the comments & feedback you’ve received on this post, you have a lot of Black women who are fans of you & supporting you; it’s awesome you’ll be supprting us too. ❤

    Alexis says:

    Julia, sending love your way. ❤️

    Julia says:

    ❤ Returning the favor! ❤

    Varun says:

    Your post is amazing. I like the way you write about all this.

    Terri Core says:

    Ive been reading and following along for YEARS and then I realized that you NEVER post about Black artist or creatives like they don’t even exist AND NOW you want to come with this fake post?! Just give it a rest and keep on with your usual white wash work.It shoulnt take someone loosing their life on camera for you to see us.

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