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Part I: What We're reading

We stand with our friends and families in solidarity and fight racism.
 

Black Lives Matter.

Instead of sharing tea right now, we wanted to let you in on what we’ve been doing behind the scenes to be better anti-racists everyday.

Sign-up to follow along.

  

This week, we took a look back at our values: integrity, transparency, partnership, quality, human.
Out of respect for our core values, and you, we wanted to show you the work that we're doing behind the scenes to take action against racism. On Monday (June 1, 2020) Big Heart Tea Co. donated $500 to STL Black Business Relief Fund, and because we are committed to transparency, we're going to show you how we're addressing racism in our industry.
Over the next month, we'll be documenting our journey and sharing resources, templates, and names of folks that helped us along the way. 
Data-driven babes that we are, we thought it best to start with what we've been reading. The things that are helping us personally navigate the complex, painful mess that is racism in America.

Lisa, founder and CEO

 Books I'm reading right now:
  1. Steeped in Heritage, The Racial Politics of South African Rooibos Tea, Sarah Ives. A book about colonialism and the supply chain red rooibos. Relevant to our industry and salient reminder of the work we have ahead of us. 
  2. We March, Shane W. Evans. This is great kids book and so relevant for our talks about protests in our city. There is a lot of room for conversation with my 5-year old. 
  3. Meals, Music and Muses, Recipes from my African American Kitchen, Alexander Smalls. Food and music are my two favorite things, this more than a cookbook, it connects the dots between African American cuisine, music and its ancestral roots in West Africa.
Books I have in que:
  1. How To Be An Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
  2. The Burning, Megha Majumdar
Resources I'm referencing a lot these days:
  1. Raising Equity - Conversations on raising anti-racist kids led by Dr. Kira Banks and Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
  2. The Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates (or anything from this author)
  3. A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn
  4. St. Louis American my 'go-to' for St. Louis news
  5.  Real News STL for live streaming footage of St. Louis protests
As a music lover, these books helped me put my favorite compositions into context.
  1. Miles: The Autobiography, Miles Davis
  2. Blues People: Negro Music in White America, Amiri Baraka
  3. I Put a Spell On You, Nina Simone

Kunthearath, VP of Operations and Supply Chain Sustainability

I'm proud we are taking action. Specifically, internal action through self-reflection, listening, asking questions, not shying away from hard topics but respectfully delving deeper to get through the other side. Above all, weaving empathy throughout.
My action is active listening, learning and engaging.
Some books we'll be reading / listening as a family:
  1. 'So You Want to Talk About Race' by Ijeoma Oluo. It's an honest and blunt book about race and racism. It's written with a lot of empathy. I'm looking forward to reading this with the family.
  2. 'My Vanishing Country' by Bakari Sellers. It's a memoir that recently came out. Personal experiences of rural poverty, food desert, food insecurity and policies that shape the lives of everyday black families and structured racism. I learned about Bakari back in 2006 when he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation.
  3. The kids are reading 'Between the World and Me' by Ta-Nehesi Coates.
Resources and organizations our family has been following:
  1. Movement for Black Lives: They are working to influence national and local agendas in the direction of shared vision for Black lives
  2. National Bail Fund Network: It's made up of over 60 community bail and bond funds across the country.
  3. Campaign Zero: I just discovered this. They put together a comprehensive platform with policy solutions guided by research to end police brutality. 

Olivia, Marketer and Storyteller

What I'm currently reading: 

  1. 'Emergent Strategy' by adrienne maree brown ("radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live") 
  2. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (eco-feminism and decolonization)

Becoming antiracist and decolonizing your mind is a journey, not a destination. My biggest recommendation to non-Black folks is to listen to voices that make you uncomfortable! Specifically: Black women, queer Black women, Black trans folks, and indigenous folks. Here are my recommendations <3

Watch:

  1. Whose Streets?. Please, please watch this film. You will see exactly what happened in Ferguson in 2014. If you only watch one documentary, make it this one. 
  2. I Am Not Your Negro
  3. 13th
  4. America's Prisoners of War (concerning lands involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline)

Read:

  1. Everyday Feminism: Race and Ethnicity Articles This is an accessible starting place. Everyday Feminism helped me out a lot back in 2014 and 2015 when I was first beginning my antiracist journey. It also lends helpful language for those sticky convos with family, friends, and coworkers.
  2. Free Library on Black history and thinkers! It was compiled by a Black trans person, which gives me confidence that there won't be missing voices / histories that often get overlooked.
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