Like most of you, we are keenly attuned to the latest wave of #BlackLivesMatter consciousness-raising protests that were sparked by the recent killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police training officer. We'll give some educational links in case you're just waking up to the ongoing assault of black bodies that have been making headlines since 2013 when Trayvon Martin, a teenager, was tragically murdered in Sanford.
It is important to state unequivocally that we are here to do our part to facilitate the active dismantling of the supremacist paradigm & system that we were all born into. Most of you are on the same page as us – you tell us every day when you buy books from our social justice / spiritual activism section, praise our inclusive children's corner, and take home anti-racist & inclusive art to make a statement on your own walls about where your values lie.
To Our Black Patrons
Your lives matter. You are valuable. You deserve so much better. We see you, we celebrate you and we stand with you in both word and action.
We know you're tired. This space is your space. Come in and sit in a chair and just be. Hang out with the crystals, find products that reflect your beauty, and discover books that speak to your experience on our shelves. If you make & sell goods compatible with our offerings, let us know. We support black-owned makers with our purchasing power.
Spiral has been an inclusive haven for decades - when we took over ownership last year we were grateful to see a diverse mix of patrons. As white women owners, we have a dual role. The first is to normalize the active inclusion and celebration of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Color) wisdom and spirituality. The second is to carry the labor of dismantling the programming of white supremacy within the white community. We purchase, hire and think through an intersectional lens not because it is trendy or for praise, but because we are committed to normalizing and deeply rooting into a win-win-win partnership paradigm built on respect and dignity, replacing the win-lose paradigm of domination and supremacy.
At the same time, we acknowledge there is no such thing as a perfect white ally. We know we have and will make ignorant mistakes. There is much to learn and we are committed to a lifelong journey of doing the deep spiritual work around supremacy within ourselves. We welcome feedback and challenges to our perceptions. We will have your back if other patrons treat you with anything less than dignity and respect. We stand with you in calling for civil rights, equal rights and dismantling the system of supremacy. It is easy for us to say #BlackLivesMatter and we do not see this as a political issue, but one of basic human rights.
Your comfort right now comes from those who have lived your experience. Here are some resources that were recommended for and by the Black Community:
- Body, Mind, Spirit resource list is filled with treasures.
- Mental health resources, including this meditation app
- Good Black News for coverage not shown by mainstream media.
- Take a break from it all and listen to a transcendent 12-hour mix of Spiritual Jazz
To All of Our Patrons
We committed to an eco-social ethic from day one, and it occurred to us that we might need to spell out our embodied practices in clear language for those of you consciously investing your hard-earned capital with people and places that are aligned with what matters most. Here are some ways we walk the talk:
We actively decolonize our inventory. We critically look at the authors and types of products we stock. We do not support exploitative practices, cultural appropriation, or objectification and do our best to continually educate ourselves and make appropriate decisions regarding this. For instance:
- You will not find knock-off Native American dreamcatchers Made in China but you can find sage bundles harvested & processed by a network of Native American wildcrafters from Canada to South America who collect plants in an ecological and respectful way. We also carry herbal smudge bundles that are locally grown and harvested by Chonteau, a black medicine woman who sells her products under her Sangoma brand.
- Spiritual Bypassing & Colorblindness are harmful and we refuse to carry popular but harmful books such as the "The Secret," which perpetuates harmful models of spiritual supremacy. We haven't read every book on our shelves, so we rely on our community to help us understand if something is harmful. Profits are not more important than people.
- Much of new age spirituality is told through a very white lens and "borrowed" from other cultures, oftentimes without credit. We actively include authentic wisdom keepers from varying traditions. As the gatekeepers to publishing become decolonized themselves, we will see a true shift towards equality and we use our voice to demand more equal representation from our publishers and vendors.
- We value Indie Made and Fair Trade over questionable sourcing practices from countries known to exploit their workers. As new owners, we are still trying to discover ethical sourcing partners for key spiritual tools so this is a work in progress.
We commit to a pro-intersectional equality path. Representation matters and we are focused on purchasing a product mix where all of our patrons can see themselves reflected in our offerings. This is obvious just walking through our store. Other ways we support this path:
- Our identities largely shape our experience in our society, informing our trauma and privilege, so you will find items that reclaim the narrative for our LGBTQIA, Women, Transgender and BIPOC communities.
- We offer insightful reading about toxic masculinity and dismantling white supremacy for our white & male patrons who are doing their part to be part of the solution.
- Our children's section is inclusive and empowering. We know how important it is to raise the next generation to be anti-racist, active allies/accomplices and help them cope with bullying, bystanders and inequality.
Areas We Intend to Deepen Our Practice
- As we step into our second year stewarding this beloved bookstore, we will be taking a more active role in outreach and education amongst our white patrons and associates who genuinely want to do better by everyone in our community to make sure that we are being conscious and intentional about how we carry forward. We're not afraid of tough conversations or ruffling feathers, but we do intend to carry ourselves with understanding because we once had the same ignorance and miseducation. Our objective is to be effective, assertive and compassionate at all times.
- We are looking to deepen our offerings for the Hispanic and Latinx community by building a collection of books written in Spanish.
- We're also looking at ways in which we can direct some of our revenue towards change-making non-profits. While we are still in our infancy as new owners (and not yet profitable as of this writing) we have taken advantage of a new opportunity to direct a percentage of online sales towards justice organizations.
These are our immediate next steps in the long march towards justice, which we will continually revisit as part of our responsibility towards those in our community who have been systemically oppressed and made to feel less than in our society. If you made it this far, thank you for being in this sacred advocacy work with us - let's tend to the wounds and make reparations so we might finally have an opportunity to end the on-going trauma of racism and make way for the healing that can follow. Let's begin right now, in the next paragraph.
To Our White Patrons
We have work to do. We know many of you are already on it. We know many more of you are ready to learn & do better but don't know what to do. We know some of you are confused, worried, and uncomfortable talking about racism and especially discussing white supremacy. A few of you might not be open to having the hard talks and doing the deep spiritual work around dismantling supremacy and we might lose your business. We'll be here if you decide to change your mind.
For those of you showing up - this is just the beginning of a much longer conversation & collective action. Here are some resources for those of you beginning to do the work. Our Society & Culture Bookshelf has illuminating titles (more on the way, many books are on backorder due to high demand) but there are many, many resources available online, here are just a few:
- Beware of the White Gaze by Malik Pitchford
- #DOTHEWORK 30-Day Online Course by Rachel Cargle
- I need to talk to spiritual white women about white supremacy by Layla Saad
- Free Online course “Racialized Trauma” by Resmaa Menakem + his book ‘My Grandmother’s Hands’
- Spiritual Activism with Rachel Ricketts
- What is Colorism by Teaching Tolerance
- 75 days Facebook group (Central Florida based) working together through
- Buy Black Made for Economic Justice
- Talking to Kids About Racism
- Dear Nice People - a Facebook page that bookmarks intersectional perspectives.
To understand different perspectives about our police and prison system, begin here:
- 13th: A thought-provoking documentary with scholars, activists and politicians analyzing the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.
- Solutions for reform & abolishment of toxic systems: https://8cantwait.org/
- The origins of our modern policing are rooted in slavery
Love & light is not enough. This is the spiritual, political, and familial work of our lifetime.
Julie Wilder & Summer Rodman