To our Love & Pawsitivity Community,
This moment in time is extremely important; for ourselves, our families and friends, and to history. We haven’t been sure what we can do or how we can help, and so we muted our platforms like many others to give space for the important work and messages of others to be shared. We’ve been listening, reading, learning, and reflecting. We will not stop amplifying others’ voices, but now we also want to contribute to the conversation. We apologize in advance for the length of this letter, but we feel it’s important and we thank you for reading.
Like many of you, over the course of the last few days and weeks, we’ve found ourselves in a whirlwind of emotions ranging from sadness and heavy-heartedness to anger and disgust. We’ve also had a few moments filled with hope and love. The nationwide protests over the killing of unarmed Black men and women hits close to home for us as Latinos; for far too long we’ve seen it impact the people and communities that we love and that have made us who we are.
As a society, we’ve seen too many false starts like this and we need this time to be different. We cannot have a short burst of activism only to return to our deadly normal.
We have found ourselves struggling with what we could do with Love & Pawsitivity to contribute to progress. We know that progress needs to be made as individuals; this part comes relatively easy. But we also want to promote change through our business.
But nothing we could think of felt big enough. Nothing we will think of will ever be big enough.
- Donate profits from sales? Our reality is that we average one sale a month right now, and so the impact would be only symbolic. A symbolic gesture is not good enough for us.
- Get loud on our social media? We have a small following so our voice won’t travel far.
- Would anything we say just be viewed as disingenuine or opportunistic? That's not who we are as people.
But simply failing to find the perfect way to contribute does not give us a pass to do nothing. Simply sharing a vague, neutral desire for peace and unity may not alienate potential customers, but it is empty filler. We do not want to only take space in the conversation about justice; we want to add to and amplify it.
It’s not enough to just act as individuals. As businesses, big and small, we have a platform to promote progress. We made the following calls-to-action for Love & Pawsitivity and the pet-business community at large, and we hope our peers will take from this and add to it as well.
- Make a conscious effort to seek out diverse content from Black and Latino pawrents and engage by liking, commenting, and sharing. Make sure they know they are welcome and lift them up.
- If you have an ambassador program, make a conscious effort to select diverse ambassadors to represent your company and your brand.
- Select ambassadors that use their platform to lead with love.
- Turn down any that make a conscious effort to gloss over issues or silence progress.
- If they aren’t standing up, they at the very least should not be telling others to sit down.
- Businesses don’t operate in a vacuum and progress isn’t zero-sum. Just as we are better together as individuals, we are better together as a business community. So lift one another with positivity.
- If you see a Black-owned business that inspires you or that pushes you to try something new for your business or to want to do more with your business - shout that business out.
- Be sure that you are hiring talented Black and Latino men and women in your business. The best ideas come when viewpoints we never would have considered are brought up, but diverse individuals first need a seat at the table to voice those viewpoints.
- The same ask goes for if you contract out parts of your operations (content creation, design work, consulting).
- If you write blog posts or share content such as “Places you should eat”, “Places to visit”, etc. - make a conscious effort to seek out Black-owned and Latino-owned businesses and include them in your content.
- If you use software to produce mockups, use Black and Latino models in those mockups. If the software you are using doesn’t have enough diversity, request that to be changed. Then move to using software that does.
- If you hire models; make a conscious effort to seek out and work with Black and Latino models. If you can’t find any, you aren’t looking hard enough. If you’re on Instagram, there’s literally an endless community of diverse influencer models.
If you do some of these things already, great! So do we. But that doesn’t mean we get to rest. We need to continue to do them, seek out what else we aren’t doing that we should, and urge our peers to do so as well.
There is so much more to be done still and we hope you’ll join us. If you have suggestions for what can be added to this list, please let us know. For now, this is our small and imperfect way of at least getting started on a path to meaningful change.
As always - remember to Lead with Love and Spread Peace, Love, and Positivity however you can.