So you want to Support The Yarn Mission?
Our first priority is engagement and anti-racist / sexist / oppressive action.
Therefore, we urge you to use “the words” because words matter. Be willing to say “racism,” “racist,” “sexism,” “sexist,” “white supremacy,” “Black Liberation,” “police brutality,” and other words and phrases people tend to shy away from. As Black people are being murdered and persecuted for their response to said murders, there is little use in sugarcoating the reality. Indeed, there is trauma in sugarcoating a racist climate.
So for the white people who would like to support us and anti-racist action in general, ensure that the white people you encounter know where you stand. Remember that condemning racism does not have to be the same as condemning the racist. You can (and should) call out racist speech and behavior (which can be subtle –Nadra Kareem Nittle explains this well here) and check yourself.
For my Black and Brown family, do not feel obligated to push white people in the ways that I encourage white people to do. This can be traumatizing and dangerous. If you can ever feel safe doing it please do. Please get support when it feels right and maintain community. Understand this priority as encouraging you to feel validated if you have ever felt invalidated.
Gaslighting is real. Cord Jefferson uses three stories (two personal) to explain this here. Black and Brown people read this with a trigger warning for instances of racism including fatal racism. White people definitely read this.
Recognize that the mission means being Pro-Black.
Purposefully support Black people and not just Blackness. Did you notice that I shared articles written by brown-skinned people? I did this on purpose. Pro-Black.
Black and Brown people, the powers of the world often show that they do not love us. We must explicitly and purposefully love us. For us, we will love and support you because you are Black. We do not doubt your ability, skill, or motivation. Unapologetically.
White people, it is crucial that you learn to be pro-Black. White people will still get jobs and support. White privilege will not vanish instantly for Black privilege’s arrival. We must support equity OVER equality. Amy Sun explains that well here.
Donate YOUR TIME, MONEY, SKILLS, AND TALENTS.
We would like The Yarn Mission to exist as long as there is need. Currently there is need. You can help us with sustainability by sharing your resources with us. This can be skills/connections. For instance, Paul Oldham designed and created our website including our Queen logo whom we all love!
This could also be surplus materials (accidental or purposeful). Perhaps you have extra yarn and needles lying around. You could donate that to us and we will appreciate it.
You can be particularly creative by donating a design to us that we may sell in our online store. You could also donate a portion of your proceeds from something. Please contact us if you have ideas! We would love to hear them.
In addition, you may decide that every time you buy yourself something you might pick up a little something for us. We would appreciate this as well. This can be done as a group (which could save on shipping and individual load).
You can also donate money to us through our paypal. We will then use the money to support our efforts. Donations will be used to aid our teaching and production as well as our support of other actions in the struggle toward Black Liberation.
The Yarn Mission
PO Box 7573
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Start a local chapter in your area.
Many of you have expressed wanting to have The Yarn Mission in your area. We want that too. We will release a full toolkit to help start ups, detailing our expectations, advice, guidelines and what we can do to help you. However, there are a few things we need for everyone to know now.
The Yarn Mission must be Black and Brown led.
This is crucial. As we work towards Black Liberation, Black people must lead. Since you are working at anti-racism, white people, this should be not a problem. If you are white and really want an anti-racist knitting group in your area make sure you find a Black person to follow. Do be involved. Do commit to the group and the mission. Be okay with following. In fact, be eager to follow. Pro-Black remember?
Okay so you have Black leadership.
Find others to join you. Pass the article about The Yarn Mission around your established knitting circle but also to others. Share the link to our website. Most people can physically learn how to knit and this means that they can knit! People who are unable to knit or unwilling for some reason can be involved in other ways.
Be Inclusive. Purposefully Inclusive.
Again, as you are finding others to join you make sure that you do not replicate the status quo knitting group. Do not be all or even predominately white. This will take work. Do the work.
If you are already a white-led, predominately white knitting group.
Support The Yarn Mission fully. Use the privileges you have including the connections and resources. Bring people in. Bring Black people in. Allow the Black people to lead your anti-racist/anti-oppression work. Continue to knit. You can help facilitate the start and flourish of The Yarn Mission in your area. You may have connections to space, local yarn stores, knowledge, etc… give that to your Black leaders. You will be part of The Yarn Mission.
Special note for supporters in the yarn industry
Hopefully, you understood how our mission applies to your circumstances. But to be absolutely clear:
Hire Black people.
If you own a yarn store/company and your staff is predominately, overwhelmingly, and, likely, disproportionately white, you must purposefully change this. (This is what I stressed to white knitting groups) You cannot be anti-racist and not be Pro-Black. So hire Black people. On purpose. They can do the job. If you find an individual that cannot, make sure that you didn’t expect them to fail because they are Black. You cannot know that you didn’t so give them another chance. Give them several other chances laced with guidance and fitted in an environment of you truly listening and reflecting upon how your privilege impedes the spaces you create.
Do NOT hire and maintain one Black person. Actually hire Black people. Then listen to the Black people.
We will talk about this further in the future. We can talk to you about privilege and inclusion v. representation in the meantime. Reach out, be open, listen, and act.
one more time…