In the context of the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement, it goes without saying that all lives matter. Patriotism and the fight for equality for people of color in our country are not mutually exclusive. In fact they are one and the same. So why BLM? The BLM movement highlights an underlying and ongoing problem of racism in the United States that needs attention even after decades of incremental improvements. We will be grappling with racism until the people who are not affected feel as strongly as those who do. Empathy and an open mind are the heart of black lives matter. Every difficult conversation about antiracism is brave and helps to create positive change. The collective voices and engagement have the power to change the course of history. The fight against systemic racism is a marathon and not a sprint. Dismantling unjust systems begins with each of us.
I founded Alaska Glacial Essentials skincare on vision of bringing glacial mineral-rich products to nourish and protect peoples’ skin while also protecting Earth’s skin through awareness and philanthropy. Racism has no place in our community and in the world we want to create for future generations.
Alaska Glacial is primarily a skincare company, but our roots are in activism. Since the beginning we have backed the vision of Dune Lankard and the Eyak Preservation Council, to leave a legacy of preservation in the name of the Eyak people who called this region of Alaska home for the last 3000 years and to honor Eyak heritage with conservation of wild salmon habitat and culture through education, awareness and promotion of sustainable lifeways for all peoples. The Eyak peoples’ region includes the Prince William Sound and the Copper River watershed.
These waters sustain our spirit and literally feed us. Since the beginning Alaska Glacial has supported the Eyak Preservation Council and other organizations that love, work and fight for wild salmon wilderness preservation, habitat restoration, watershed education and sustainable community development. Alaska Glacial has always strived to be a part of the solution by harmonizing commerce with environmental and social impact.
While our mission and giving program has not changed, we are identifying ways we can more deeply honor and include people of color in programs we support. We have started conversations with the organizations we already support about how to be more inclusive and continue to honor the indigenous people of our region and fight systemic racism. We have also broadened our giving program to include nonprofits with a focus on environment and diversity. If you know an organization (preferably in Alaska) that focuses on both the outdoors and being more inclusive, please let us know.
Time to listen and learn. The unjust death of George Floyd brought shed light to the injustices still present in our society. While people of color may have equal rights in this country, prejudice still affects policies and causes huge economic and social injustices. As a Jew, I understand prejudice, but as a white person I have always, in the words of Nella Larsen, “passed” and experienced full white privilege. To educate ourselves we must acknowledge white privilege and we MUST acknowledge the horror and repression people of color have been dealing with for hundreds and hundreds of years. In Alaska this includes the slaughter of Native Americans, the continued prejudice against Native Peoples – and the continued paternalistic caucasian racism that proliferates in this country.
In an effort to engage in the antiracism movement, I have taken action both personally and as a solopreneur, donating to advocacy and legal defense groups, marching and sitting in vigil to show support and solidarity. But this is not enough. I am committed to do at least one thing everyday to either contribute or learn; whether that’s listening to a podcast, watching a video or reading an article written by a black person/person of color, donating, signing a petition, voting with my dollars, and/or having a conversation with other adults and children about people of color and systemic racism. I stand against racism – I stand for recognition and continuous positive change.