The Word Factory Statement on Social Justice

  An Acknowledgement

  I honor those who came before:

The Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation and the Eno and Shakori people, original stewards of the land we work and live on here in Orange County, N.C. My life is the product of Indigenous peoples’ relationship to the natural and spiritual world. I am privileged to hold space in these lands, which would not exist without your guardianship.

The enslaved Black and African people exploited for white prosperity. I honor you and your building a nation, a county and a university that did not recognize or respect you, and in many ways still does not. The economy and structures that support me today could not have been built without the fundamental contribution of your strength, wisdom, ingenuity – and blood – and would not exist without your sacrifice and exploitation.

Diversity & Inclusion Pledge

I pledge to combat marginalization and its impacts.

Marginalization is a system that chooses characteristics to relegate indiscriminately. It is supported by economic, social and political systems that devalue and sideline non-Western European, white, Protestant straight people. I stand up for and stand by people from marginalized communities, including Black, Indigenous and other people of color, LGBTQ+, people living with chronic disease or disability, and those from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. To that end, I will:

Flag marginalizing policies and practices. I point out policies, practices and remarks by business partners, contractors, clients and vendors; and in the community. I have uncomfortable conversations with other white people and share resources to help them do better. I do business as much as possible with organizations that respect and work toward anti-marginalization.

Make space for people from marginalized communities. I accomplish this by:

  • Including at least one person from a marginalized community on source lists for assignments
  • Creating representative image sets for client and pro bono work
  • Nominating for recognition, speaking opportunities and awards
  • Recommending for leadership positions and paid professional opportunities
  • Promoting or reposting on my business and personal social media accounts
  • Centering voices and talents that are under-represented

Anti-Racist Pledge

I pledge to run an anti-racist business.

As a white woman from the South, I can only guess at the deep and unending pain endured by Black people in America. Living with white supremacy forced Black Americans to bear enormous physical, emotional and economic burdens that negatively impact generations. To begin to repair this situation, white people like me must end our silence, raise our voices and use our privilege to make change. To build a more inclusive, representative and anti-racist organization and community, I will:

 

Call out racism, white supremacy, bias and their impacts. I flag policies, practices and remarks by business partners, contractors, clients and vendors; and in the community. I do business as much as possible with organizations that reflect and support my values, including my commitment to anti-racism.

Continue my own anti-racist education. At least quarterly, I read, attend courses, webinars and workshops and take advantage of other opportunities. These efforts empower me to check myself, intensify my allyship and increase my knowledge of the impacts of racism and bias.

Invest 10% of my monthly budget to support businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and other people of color. I do this by:

  • Contracting for services and buying products
  • Registering for events and other opportunities
  • Contributing business capital

Address needs expressed by Black business owners. I use my platform to advocate for government and organizational policies and regulations that support non-white enterprises. I make myself available to provide technical or promotional support to businesses and offer other expertise as requested. I do not give credence to the white savior mythology.

Help other white business owners and decision-makers, including my clients and partners, be more anti-racist. I share resources, make recommendations and connections, have difficult conversations and make introductions to anti-racism and DEI consultants.

With these pledges, I commit to tangibly work for marginalized peoples’ safety, wellbeing, visibility and right to exist in a world free of injustice.

I'm grateful to my friends Barbara Jessie-Black and Lisa Long Jackson for their guidance on and support of my anti-racist education and better allyship.

The Word Factory is a signatory to the Hello Seven Anti-Racist Small Business Pledge, which informed the creation of this document.