Re-Opening + Privilege
I know so many of us have been fiending for normalcy in the face of many changes.
Whether globally, nationally, or in our own back yards there have been major shifts in the health of our world from COVID-19 to address the rife racism that is inherently present within our systems.
There is no easy way to reimagine a future, but also no fancy way. It comes with hard work, devotion, and a clear idea of what it is that we are working towards.
As the country opens up around us and we at Fiends observe the actions taken in many ways it is obvious to us that we must pace ourselves. The work we are doing is more nuanced and deserves our attention - re-opening is more than just about getting back to work. It is about understanding the privilege we have at Fiends. That our community work is to keep vulnerable people supported and create a space where self-discovery is safe. While physical safety hasn't been something we've had to think about before this, understanding that when we take measures against COVID-19 it isn't for me - the privileged white shop owner.
It isn't for many of you, either, my privileged white customers.
At the epicentre of all of this there is an important message that must meet more than our ears - it must meet our hearts, our understandings, and our actions as well.
The people most affected by this are the already marginalized communities. It is the BIPOC folks who are consistently the underdogs; who are at the front lines of "normal" in our communities, who make all of the things we take for granted every single day possible. Sure, we want to keep the physically vulnerable safe. But cultural vulnerability is a bigger and more important issue in the face of all that we are going through.
As we think about re-opening, we are not thinking about profit margins and sales. We are not thinking about product displays. We are not thinking about when community gatherings are happening again.
What we are thinking about, is what does tangible action mean every. Single. Day. What does it mean to consciously run a business - with not just economic responsibility, but social responsibility. This goes deeper than keeping Gramma safe. It is about seeing the privilege that is inherent with choice, and using that privilege to pave a new path where we all have more choice to use our voice.
When originally imagining a "new normal" it looked a lot like figuring out what felt the best for me and my business. It was about finding the compromise between our communities needs and individual needs. We see that it is much bigger than that.
We have chosen to keep our doors closed for the time being, opting to keep operations online until we can assess what a second wave will look like and thinking critically about who that wave will actually affect - who historically all the selfish choices of white folx have affected.
In the future, our shop will be turning towards the energy of a studio. With more time, we will be opening up private appointments and bookings. We will be available less days, with more presence. We will be operating in a way that is more efficient for the whole ecosystem of Fiends with days dedicated to the back-end and content creating and days dedicated to community building.
Our hope is that a private space is a more inclusive space. That individuals that walk through our doors or greet us online will feel seen, safe, and secure.
Our hope is that we can continue to build these walls outwards to create a community, a world in which we are all inherently safe.