While we enjoy the festivities that the Thanksgiving season brings, it is important to look back on and help to repair America’s destructive colonialist history in any way we can. This year, Passion Lilie will be participating in the Redistribution Pledge as a part of #ReclaimBlackFriday, a campaign dedicated to amplifying the work and voices of Indigenous and Black leaders. Instead of offering sales or markdowns during the Black Friday season, we will be redistributing 15% of our total sales from November 27th – 30th to DigDeep Water, Amah Mutsun Land Trust, Black Farmer Fund, Soul Fire Farm. We want to encourage you, our community, to support initiatives driven by communities whose ancestors had their lands stolen from them and who were stolen from their lands.
America’s History of Genocide and Theft
The first Thanksgiving is just one example of how Native Americans have experienced centuries of dehumanization, genocide, and erasure. When the pilgrims arrived in America, they kickstarted America’s oppression of millions of Indigenous and Black people for hundreds of years by colonizing the Wampanoag tribe and stealing their land. It is imperative that we recognize the stolen land that we reside on to take one small step towards systemic change. Passion Lilie is based in New Orleans where the land was stolen from the Choctaw and Chitimacha tribes.
Capitalism first emerged as a world system through the anti-Black racism generated by the transatlantic slave trade, and it has depended on racism to ensure its preservation and reproduction ever since. Black Americans, descendants of American chattel slavery, were taken captive and brought to America for textile and agricultural work where they were forced to build the wealth of this country, even though Black Americans collectively experience on of the highest poverty rates of any group in the United States. The dehumanization, exploitation, and abuse of Black and Indigenous people still continues today without any substantial reparations having been distributed.
Above Choctaw and Chitimacha Land (New Orleans, LA)
How Black Friday Reinforces this History Today
Exploitation is a main side effect of modern capitalism, because businesses are built with a goal to maximize profits for shareholders and investors that prioritize profits over people. Exploited workers do not get to share the wealth, and many of these low-wage workers are from Black and Brown communities, which have historically and continue to be exploited, reinforcing systems of poverty. During Black Friday, it is important that we decrease support of large corporations and decrease our consumption of products that are made unethically that reinforce the economy we currently operate under in which people are not treated with respect or compensated fairly. Workers make such a small portion of the profits, so we need to support businesses where the price is reflective of the labor that was put into making the product.
Why We are Taking the Pledge and You Should Too
Reclaim Black Friday is a call to action for redistributing wealth to those who have suffered the most because of historic and continual exploitation in America, and as a white-owned business, we want to do our best to help dismantle the systems that cause harm. Redistributing wealth is a small way we can give back the stolen wealth and land we have benefited from, but this is far from the end. For our community, we would like to ask you to directly support indigenous and Black land-based organizations, purchase products from businesses that are taking the Redistribution Pledge, and share content created by Indigenous and Black leaders, like @reclaimcollaborative to raise awareness on the problematic history of Thanksgiving and ways to consider redistribution during these holidays and beyond. Systemic change follows cultural change, and as brand owners, we have the ability to challenge what is accepted and do our part to redistribute funds from white-dominated spaces to Black and Indigenous land-based initiatives.
A big thank you to Reclaim Collaborative for putting together this campaign and Manpreet Kalra of Art of Citizenry for doing the bulk of the historical research.