Black Lives Matter
We stand with the Black community and we are going to work harder to listen, learn, educate ourselves, and take action that shows our support. The current events in the US and beyond have led us to evaluate some of our current actions as a company to better ensure we are making a positive impact. The Sleep Shirt is committed to representing diversity when it comes to skin colour, body types, abilities, and ages. Racism has and continues to affect my family and I’ve taken action individually to do more anti-racism work (you can learn more about this on my personal Instagram feed, @alexandraisenberg.) As a company, we are looking at ways that we can be a better ally to BIPOCs and marginalised groups. As a small business navigating a global pandemic with limited resources, it is a challenge to make decisions on where to allocate our time and money. Here is a list of the actions we are taking. I know we can do better and do more, and we are striving to do so.
The actions we are going to take
1. Our primary strategy with regards to charitable donations will continue to be focused on local organisations helping women and Indigenous people, including the Howe Sound Women’s Centre and UNYA. Two current campaigns are giving proceeds to Food Banks Canada as the need is great during COVID-19. At the holidays, we also give a donation to MSF to support the important work they are doing in war zones.
2. To show our support to the Black community in the Vancouver area, we have made a donation this week to Hogan's Alley, a society that works to advance the social, political, economic and cultural well-being of people of African Descent in Vancouver and British Columbia. We have also made a donation to the Chantel Moore family Support Campaign. She is an Indigenous woman who was shot in her home by an Edmonton police officer on Thursday.
3. We will continue to hire diverse models. Representing different races and body types is important to us and we are working towards more diversity at our shoots.
4. We’ve made it a priority to ensure the influencers we work with are diverse, and we are proud that our feed shows different races and body sizes. But we can do better in this area and we are working on this.
5. We have reached out to a diversity consulting firm in order to conduct an audit of our business and take actions to ensure we are a better ally to marginalised groups.
6. All of my regular monthly contractors in Vancouver will now have the equivalent of half a week of personal days which they can use for volunteer work, attending protests, or doing whatever else might make them feel good (including staying in bed all day.) This will apply for anyone who has been with the company for more than 3 months (therefore this applies to all of them at present.)
7. In my personal time, I will continue the volunteer work I have been doing with No White Saviors, an anti-racism advocacy group who are doing incredible work in Africa and around the world.
This list is a work in progress and as a team, we regularly discuss how we can make a more positive impact in the area of anti-racism and other issues affecting marginalised groups. I welcome your comments and feedback, please feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be doing my best to respond personally to all communications on this matter.
- Alexandra Suhner Isenberg, founder of The Sleep Shirt
December 2020 Update: What we have accomplished this year
We published this blog post in June 2020 and we have decided it is time to share an update on our progress. Here are the actions we have taken in the past six months.
- We continue to support Food Banks Canada and Howe Sound Women's Centre, and chose Qmunity in Vancouver as our charitable cause for the Matlo Atelier x The Sleep Shirt collaboration.
- Donations were made to Hogan's Alley and the Chantel Moore family support campaign.
- In the past six months we have worked with three new BIPOC women and will continue to ensure our choice of models represents a variety of races.
- We've taken a new approach to our influencer strategy: paid promotions will only be offered to women who are not thin, white, cisgender, heterosexual, and able bodied unless they regular discuss important issues (such as sustainability or mental health) or they produce truly outstanding imagery.
- Becca Schwenk from Cicely Blain Consulting facilitated an Anti Oppression 101 workshop for The Sleep Shirt's staff and contractors on December 8th.
- Staff have been made aware of their personal days and most of them have taken them.
- Our founder Alexandra continues to do volunteer work for No White Saviors.
- In addition to the above, we are developing several new plus size shapes and expanding our size range to fit up to a 4X/5X by the middle of next year.