The recent murders of eight women in Atlanta - six of whom were Asian women - have left me sad, angry, and quiet. My love and support goes to their families and their communities - I wish we could call this event a rarity, but we know full well that that’s not the case at all. Though I am not Asian, I am all too familiar, as a Latina, with the pain that inflicts a community after senseless violence like that in Atlanta this past week.
I am aware that many brands have already made statements denouncing violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, but I wanted to sit with my thoughts a little longer. It's important to me that Alpine Parrot is very clear about not only how we feel, but also what we're doing about the continued violence against people of color, including - but not limited to - Asians, Black people, Indigenous people, and Latinx people.
First: please stop the hate. There is simply no excuse for the murdering, assaulting, belittling, and ignoring of people of color. Bad days, rough childhoods, mental illness - these are all excuses, leaving us with no solutions. It's scary to be a person of color in the United States: we never know when we're going to be judged by the color of our skin, the heaviness of our accents, or the spelling of our names. We have no control over these aspects of our lives - and yet we're often the ones asked to stay silent, let it go, or change.
You know who can change? The people who engage in and support the violence. Engagement and support can take many forms: from physical attacks to shrugging off racist comments when there are no people of color present - it's all rooted in white supremacy.
I can't change the color of my skin, but I can stop myself from killing someone. I won't change the name my parents gave me, but I will speak up when someone makes a discreetly racist joke. It may be tricky and uncomfortable to stop acts of violence, but it's nowhere near as impossible to change the genetic and cultural markers that make us who we are.
Black squares, retweets, Instagram shares - they're meaningless without action. The best time to act was yesterday; the second best time to act is today. Please don't wait until tomorrow - it might be too late for someone else.
Now: we all can contribute to the dismantling of the white supremacist patriarchy that exists in these United States. So what am I and Alpine Parrot doing about it?
Alpine Parrot's mission is to create outdoor apparel that celebrates and encourages underrepresented people in the outdoors, namely people of size and people of color. On the surface, we're making pants; deep down, we are dismantling fatphobia and racism, which are key tenets of white supremacy.
Read that again: by making pants, we are tearing down white supremacy. By making outdoor apparel, we're giving people opportunities to experience unhindered JOY in nature. Trees won't judge us; mountains won't laugh at us; rivers don't care what languages we speak. Mother Earth loves us - and we love her right on back.
Want to help? There are several ways to support us: buy stickers. Back our Kickstarter (sign up for our newsletter to find out when it launches). Follow us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). Tell your friends, your coworkers, and your networks about us.
Then go and support other small, women of color-owned businesses. Donate money to organizations that are on the front lines. Call your government representatives. Tell the butthead who thinks it's cool to make fun of people to check their privilege. Give the warmest smile you can to your friends of color, letting them know you love them.And then, for the love of all that is good, holy, and right: don't kill or attack anyone. It seems so simple, but apparently, it's not.