Entrepreneur and founder of Brother Vellies, Aurora James, introduced the 15% pledge a few weeks ago in response to the recent civil rights movement. Named so because of the fact that 15% of the US population is black, the pledge calls on large retailers (Sephora, Target and Shopbop to name a few) to pledge 15% of their shelf space to black-owned businesses. In this week’s AMPLIFY series, we’re showing you how you can take the pledge yourself, according to the steps laid out by James herself.
1. TAKE STOCK
Whether you’re a writer, business-owner or even a lawyer, the first step is to take stock of the goods or services you’re putting out or working on. How many black people do you have working for you? How many articles have you written that centre around black narratives or brands? How many clients do you have that are black? Take inventory of where you’re at.
2. TAKE OWNERSHIP
The next step is to be honest. Having only one black employee in a team of 70 might not be a great look, but taking ownership will allow you to do the work to move forward. Thus, it’s important to be open about your situation and then to understand how this situation came about – is there bias in your hiring process? Do you actively avoid writing about races that aren’t yours? Or even, is the problem less in your hands, in that perhaps very few black clients approach you for your services? Find out why.
3. TAKE ACTION
This is the final and the hardest step. Whatever your findings have been in the past two steps, it is up to you to actively do the work to fulfil the 15% pledge. Whether that means actively seeking out more black clients, targeting black-majority schools or areas when recruiting for new roles, or following black-centred media outlets so that you get inspiration for your new articles – the onus is on you to figure out the best way in which to meet this target and then to take the steps to get there. As Aurora herself stated, it’s not an overnight job, but it’s definitely one worth doing.