Before I begin, I want to be crystal clear: garnering praise is not the point of this letter. The point is to account for the blindspots of my past and declare the long, important road of work ahead.
“It’s time for all of us to take responsibility for the communities we are creating with our businesses. We must all ask ourselves, “is my business contributing to the progression of our society, or is my business contributing to the regression of our society?” – Rachel Rodgers of Hello 7
To say that I have learned a lot over the last 2 weeks is a massive understatement. To be honest, the last 2 weeks likely represent the greatest awakening of my entire life. You may have noticed that we (at Fed and Fit) have been especially quiet on the website and on social media. After publishing our Antiracist Resources article, we were serious about prioritizing our own learning/unlearning about racism, white privilege, and the role we’ve played. While we started reading, watching, observing, and listening to the grieving Black community, I made the conscious decision to freeze our content. I did this because, for the first time in my life, I saw how my unconscious bias could actually cause people NOT like me (especially my Black and POC brothers and sisters) to feel unsafe and unwelcome in our online home. No, I wasn’t directly called out by any one person …but I was directly convicted to do and be better.
Today’s note is a letter of both my personal thoughts and awakenings to how I’ve participated in a racist culture, in addition to how we have carefully and thoughtfully planned a vehicle-for-good future of Fed and Fit. It’s imperfect and a work in progress, but it’s a start and a promise.
For 34 years, I did not see the racist world I was living in and as such, participating in. I didn’t see my white privilege (a glaring benefit of my white privilege). A metaphor discussed by Professor Ibram Kendi and Brene Brown in her recent Unlocking Us podcast sums it up: I didn’t even know I was wet, born into and living a life under the pouring rain (my white privilege, made possible by systemic racism) until someone handed me an umbrella. I didn’t see the incredibly pervasive racist systems and how I had an important part to play.
“The good news is that racist and antiracist are not fixed identities. We can be a racist one minute and an antiracist the next. What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment, determines what – not who – we are.” – Professor Ibram X. Kendi, How to be an Antiracist
While reading “How to be an Antiracist,” the above quote rocked me to my core. It helped me see that my white privilege isn’t a racist life-sentence AND ALSO that antiracist work is going to be a lifelong pursuit (vs. a few weeks of learning then quietly disengaging). I lived my previous 34 years thinking that I loved all of God’s children well and equally. As a member of both the Latinx and female communities, I was even self-righteous in (what I thought were) shared struggles. I’d been witness to (and a direct recipient of) racist remarks against myself and my family (many from other members of my own family), which should have opened my eyes to white supremacy sooner than it did. I was dripping wet in privilege, taking full advantage of a system that put Black lives in danger.
As a white-passing Hispanic business owner, I acknowledge my privilege. I take full responsibility for how I personally contributed to the systemic racism in our country, for the lives I unknowingly impacted, and for every single one of my blind spots that possibly caused Black, Brown, and other POC harm.
I’m committed to building a future that is founded on justice. This includes integrating my personal education and recognizing my unconscious bias; continuing the challenging/necessary conversations about racism and white privilege in my own family/friend circles; raising children that can be a part of the solution; and using my business, Fed and Fit, as a vehicle for change.
As for Fed + Fit…
Black lives, unequivocally, matter. We must end systemic, institutional racism, and support efforts towards reparations. We must end racial violence.
The purpose of Fed and Fit has been, and will continue be, a no-rules wellness space aimed to empower healthy lifestyles. We will prioritize that our content matures into a safe space for a more inclusive audience, including our Black and POC community members, who deserve to be seen, served, and feel safe here.
- Combat widespread racism by implementing diversity and inclusion training for all employees.
- Vote with our dollars by scrutinizing vendors, partners, and contractors, making sure we’re financially supporting businesses and individuals who are working to be a part of the solution to end systemic racism.
- Mindfully weave in inclusive language and content across all Fed and Fit platforms.
- Continue to direct Fed and Fit’s annual charitable giving towards organizations mobilized to advance racial justice. Fed and Fit has gifted $5k in June 2020 (across the organizations listed here) and is matching any employee donations made through the end of the month.
- Build a hiring practice that recognizes our bias and increases the Black and POC representation on our team. To do this, we will post job applications in spaces outside our current sphere of influence while also building a more inclusive, welcoming brand.
- Collaborate with diverse content creators (to include our Black and POC recipe/wellness colleagues), hired either as contractors or full-time team members, to authentically share recipes and wellness practices. These individuals will be equally compensated and credited for their work.
- As the leader of this company, I will personally diversify my own mentorship. I will make the conscious effort to surround myself with and hire mentors of different races, genders, sexual orientations, and world views from my own.
- Continue to invite other online influencers, especially in the food and wellness space, to rethink their own businesses. I encourage my wellness colleagues to assess their organizations and impact. To carefully weigh how they, too, can affect meaningful change. Here’s a short list of the resources I found most helpful in my own efforts to rethink my business:
This will not be a fast process. It will take time before you will see our plans play out on social media. Know that what is slow to become apparent to the rest of the world isn’t an indication of the pace at which we’re working to build this foundation. We have so much more to learn and (likely) more mistakes to make, but our eyes are open now and we’re forever changed. There’s no going back, only forward into a better, more inclusive, more truly loving future.
Thank you for being here. Whether you’ve been a reader for 9 years or 1 day, I’m grateful for your time. I hope we can continue to make you proud with our efforts on and off the screen. I hope that I can inspire positive change in the online content world. I hope you can see our hearts, know that we see our imperfection, and trust that we’re dedicated to better.
With love and respect,
Cassy Joy Garcia
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Fed and Fit, LLC