Progress Report: Our Anti-Racism Action Plan & Inclusivity Efforts

May 2022 Update

        Over the past two years, we have committed ourselves to incorporate anti-racist practices into all aspects of our business. You can find our original Anti-Racism Action Plan, written in June 2020, here. We want to provide you with some updates to this plan and check in on the progress we have made in our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. 


        Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, some aspects of our original plan, such as donating our space, have not been possible. As a result, we decided to redirect our efforts towards other anti-racist initiatives, adding a number of action items to our internal plan with the help of our team. Here is some of the progress we have made since June of 2020.


Progress report on our current plan: 


        Throughout 2020, 2021, and into 2022, we have proudly donated almost $80,000 to a number of non-profit organizations. As of March 2022, we have transitioned this initiative from donating 1% of our revenue to donating 5% of our profits, due to budgetary restrictions. While this is an unfortunate yet necessary change, we are proud to continue making an impact through our donations in a way that is sustainable for our business in the long term. 


        In December 2020, we organized a virtual food drive for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, matching the donations made by both our team and our customers. With your help, and the help of our Birdies, we raised $2285 towards food for people in need across Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and the North Shore. 


        In March 2021, our team spent an afternoon sewing non-medical masks, donating more than 60 masks to those in need through local non-profit organizations.


        In May 2021, our team sewed curtain panels using our fabrics to donate to the May Wah Hotel, a low-income housing and community recreation space run by the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation. 


        In December 2021, we once again organized a virtual food drive, raising $2235 for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. 


        We created a living Diversity & Inclusion document which includes both Anti-Racism and LGBTQ+ Resources. Our team members now have access to a channel where they can submit ideas and recommend resources. This living document also includes progress updates for our team, as well as links to DEI workshops we have completed. 

 

Additional efforts:


Commitment to DEI Education

        Throughout 2020-2022, our team has completed a number of workshops, including anti-racism workshops with Bakau Consulting (two with our entire team and one with our management team), and a workshop on gender diversity with Trans Focus Consulting. 


Birdies Library

        Created in 2020, our shared library includes 32 books about race, identity, and critical theory. These books were purchased by Blackbird Fabrics through a local Indigenous-owned bookstore, Iron Dog Books, or donated by staff. 


Fabric Donations 

        We do our best to fulfill requests for fabric donations whenever possible. In 2021 we donated fabrics to local organizations such as Atira Women’s Resource Society, Family Services North Shore, Vancouver’s Chinatown Foundation, and KidSafe. 


Established Equitable Hiring Processes 

        In 2021, we updated our recruiting, screening, and interviewing processes in an effort to make our hiring practices more equitable. This includes writing inclusive job postings, broadening our recruiting network, blind screening, and creating interview rubrics with clear evaluation criteria to mitigate affinity bias. We continue to strive for progress in this area and recognize there is always room for improvement as we work to adopt an equity-based mindset with our hiring practices. 


Commitment to inclusivity in media we share 

        One of our goals is to ensure that the content we share on our social media platforms, on our website, and in our newsletter, is as accessible as possible for all. Some of the ways we work towards this are by including image descriptions and alt-text on our social media posts to ensure that those using adaptive technologies, such as screen readers, and those with visual or learning impairments can easily engage with our content. 


        Another way that we strive to make our content as accessible and as inclusive as possible is by including the maximum measurements for all pattern recommendations that we make. In tandem with this, we try to include a number of patterns whose size ranges extend beyond a 55” chest/hip each time we recommend patterns.

 

Looking forward...

        In 2022, we will continue to support our local community through our non-profit donation initiative, and explore new ways that we can incorporate anti-racist practices into our business. As always, we welcome your feedback. You can get in touch on our contact page.  

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