A June Letter From the Apartment Therapy Editor

published Jun 1, 2020
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Black Lives Matter.
Credit: Apartment Therapy

At the end of last week, I was working on my usual monthly dispatch when I realized that there was really only one thing worth talking about right now. Every day here at Apartment Therapy, it’s our mission to help everyone to live a happy, healthy life at home. But that mission is hollow as long as Black people aren’t safe in their communities and even their homes. The recent deaths of George FloydBreonna TaylorAhmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, were all-too-frequent reminders of just that. As a team, we stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. We hear you, we see you, and we stand in solidarity.

As a mostly white team here at Apartment Therapy, I—and our entire team—am committed to doing the work to figure out how to make sure our mission truly speaks to everyone. If you’d like to join us in that effort, I’ve compiled a list of resources and ideas to bring anti-racist values into your own homes and communities. For starters, I suggest checking out this post from @chelseaykaywright about ways to make a difference from home. If you’ve already been on this journey for a long time, we’re here for you and we’re ready to catch up.

  • Expand your reading list. My sister teaches Critical Race Theory classes at Penn State University. Here’s a list she gives her students to develop a better framework and understanding of race relations in America. It is by no means exhaustive, but for anyone wondering “Where do I even begin?”, it’ll help paint the picture in clearer strokes. She recommends reading them roughly in this order:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Essay: The White Man’s Guilt by James Baldwin

White Rage by Carol Anderson

How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

There are tons of other reading lists circulating—see the next item on the list, for instance. 

  • Seek out resources about what else to read, watch, and listen to. This Google doc from activists Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein is a great place to start. It was compiled for white people who want to engage in anti-racism, and also lists organizations to follow on social media and other toolkits.
  • Donate. There are a lot of organizations doing important work related to this moment. I suggest doing your research to see whose mission speaks to you and your values. There are also tons of options circulating right now on Instagram. Here are a few places I donate to:
  • Diversify your social feeds. Looking for suggestions in the home design space? Check out this and this.
  • Shop Black-owned businesses. I was blown away by this print from Cleo Wade that’s making the Instagram rounds. She writes: “I made this print when I found out I was pregnant because I wanted my daughter to grow up with these words in her room.” The quote touches on the importance of starting this conversation in our homes—and 100% of the proceeds are going to The Antiracist Research & Policy Center. Our team also loves Rayo and Honey, whose work has been featured in several of our house tours. Check out her Black Lives Matter pennant here. We’ll have a more comprehensive resource coming to the site soon.
  • Engage in conversations about race. Again, this change starts within our own families, communities, and social networks. It can be uncomfortable, confusing, and upsetting, but opening up the conversation will pave the way for future understanding and collaboration. Here’s one place to start.

Finally, on a company level, the worlds of both home design and lifestyle media have a lot of work to do when it comes to inclusivity and representation. It’s our job here at Apartment Therapy to do that, through the people and homes we choose to cover, the writers we publish, the topics we tackle, the makers and companies we lift up, and the designers whose work we amplify. We are committed to doing that work. Here are four places we plan to start right away:

  • As a company, we are making a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative, which works to provide legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. 
  • Apartment Therapy Media is working to donate ad inventory to Black-owned businesses.
  • After this post, we plan to pause publishing unrelated content on our site and on social media for the next 24 hours. We’ll be listening instead of talking.
  • And we are continuing critical conversations about how to diversify our teams and content, as well as providing support for our current BIPOC employees. We’ll be ready to share plans on that soon.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve, I’d love to hear from you.