Dear Friends and Fans of Mama,
I know Mama has been conspicuously absent on current events on our social media. I’ve felt the weight of what this silence may signal and decided to sit in my discomfort and take my time figuring out what I wanted to say about it rather than just jumping on the bandwagon. Obviously (I hope!) our customers and followers know that I personally and we as a company are in complete solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. My heart has ached with every new report on Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. I have felt in my bones the overwhelming pain and frustration as I begin to grasp what exactly systemic racism is and what it is like to live within. I have raged at most of the words that have come out of our president’s mouth. But I have felt that now is not the time for my voice; it is the time for our actions. And it has taken time to figure out what that looks like.
I have spent the last week-and-a-half donating, listening and learning. I have felt uncomfortable many times in this process, going up against my own ideas of what things are like and what is right and what is wrong. And I’m planning to keep doing that work. But please know, it is probably not going to happen much on social media. In areas around justice of any kind, I see social media as more of a chaos maker than a conversation starter. And I truly believe that conversation is where the work starts.
At Mama, we have started having conversations about what we can do as a small company on a local level. Supporting our community has always been our main focus in the area of outreach, because our interdependence with our community has had everything to do with the success of Mama (and we love you too, our small but loyal group of out-of-towners!) I’ve also had confirmed what I already knew but wasn’t really acting on, which is that what happens in our communities is the most influential in our daily lives, so we need to be more educated and involved in helping shape who leads them.
With the knowledge that systemic racism and racial inequity are primarily enforced and reinforced through public policies, we’ve started to talk internally about what a voting initiative and engaging disenfranchised voters looks like. We each acknowledged that we always vote for the president and congress, but have rarely taken the time to educate ourselves on who is running for election in our community. We’ve talked about different ways we can help bring this into a bigger light, including highlighting platforms of local officials who are running for election and putting our staff on the clock to go vote. As we creep toward November, we will continue to figure out how we can be of service in this area. If you have any ideas, we would love to hear from you!
The other idea I've had comes from something that has been missing in my journey; a mentor. If my privilege has given me a leg up with my company, then it is my duty and my honor to pay it forward. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years and have gained a lot of knowledge (and made more than a few mistakes) and I have wished countless times that I could find someone to help me navigate some of the pitfalls who had already been through them. So, I would like to offer a free mentorship to 3 black, women-owned soap companies based in the Atlanta area.
There is always more work to be done and that will be ongoing. At times, our work at Mama will have more momentum than others. But I wanted to let you know that we are present in this and committed to not just standing in solidarity but to being an active ally.
I thank you so much for your continued support of this company.
With love and gratitude,
Emilie and the staff of Mama Bath + Body