Jen’s Notebook: Where do we go from here?

June 9, 2020

It’s been a heavy few weeks. Make that a heavy few months. It seems we have been jumping from one crisis to the next, with barely time to catch our breath. These are unprecedented times as we battle a worldwide pandemic. The nation’s tolerance for police brutality and racial injustice has reached a breaking point. Parts of the country are bracing for hurricanes while others battle wildfires and earthquakes. The planet is experiencing a period of unrest and we have an opportunity for a reset.

Pain and suffering is universal right now. While I have few answers, I know that after a wound is ripped open, true healing can begin. None of this will be a quick fix. The pandemic shows no signs of slowing and in many parts of the country, numbers are beginning to spike. This may have something to do with protesters marching in record numbers, calling for police reform and asking White to join the weary, tired cries of Black.

Following the days since George Floyd’s death, I’ve experienced (and watched) a deeper understanding of just what it is to live as a Black person in the United States in 2020. Because I live in a predominantly White state in a predominantly White area, I have been living in a bubble, unknowingly contributing to a deep disconnect between White and Black. That needs to change.

So where do we go from here? I’ve watched many White voices on social media desperately try to grasp at a solution– some kind of bandaid and a way to tell the world they are not racist. But not being racist is no longer enough. We must be actively anti-racist. Long term change is uncomfortable and uncertain and we can’t expect the Black community to tell us what to do to course correct a system they didn’t create.

We’ve had candid conversations both in our home and in our business. We are actively mapping out plans for what we can do to change. In our home, we’re discussing anti-racism with our kids, reading books, and are committed to exposing our girls to more people of color. I believe it’s so important for them to see, get to know, and love people who do not look like them. Questions my dear friend Shavonda Gardner and I discussed the other day struck me hard: who is your dentist? Your doctor? Your accountant? Your kids teachers, classmates, local business owners? As I thought through that list, I realized the great majority were White and know I need to make a concerted effort to give my children more Black examples in their lives.

In Stagg Design, we’ve committed to using our talents and platform to highlight Black designers and creators, incorporating their products and artwork into our designs, and sharing them with our followers. Look for regular interviews on Heart of the Home Podcast as well as blog and instagram shout-outs. If you have a favorite Black creator, tell us! We would love to connect with them.

And speaking of Shavonda, she agreed to hop on Heart of the Home Podcast again (you can listen to her episode from last year here where we talk all things design and downsizing. She’s so inspiring) to discuss the current racial climate and why representation in different areas is so important. It goes live this Wednesday and will no doubt open your eyes and inspire you.

I believe the biggest change needed is love. More empathy, more compassion, more unity. To feel what someone else feels and look at their lives as if they could be your own will inspire us to fight for one another, join hand in hand and reform.

As I looked into my little girls’ eyes, widened and shocked as we explained what was happening in the world I was filled with hope. Because racism is not innate, it is taught. And education will be one of our greatest weapons.

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We're a full-service design firm and home furnishings shop built around the philosophy that a well-designed home should be beautiful, personal, cohesive, and complete. We think home is the most important place on the planet and when you live in a home that is perfectly you, it changes your life. Don't believe us? Stick around. We're confident we'll change your mind.

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