A Message to the GWS Community: Black Lives Matter

Unity Through Community

To our dear GWS community,
Like so many of you, we’re heartbroken and angry at the injustice that is dividing our country. During times like these, it is difficult to put all of our thoughts into words. However, we believe it is necessary to use our platform to take a stand and actively support the causes in which we believe. Silence is not an option right now. Black Lives Matter, and in order to be advocates for change, we need to be actively anti-racist. To the Black community, our Black friends and Black members of the wedding industry we see you, we hear you and we stand with you.

As a company, Green Wedding Shoes has always embraced inclusivity and diversity, but we were mistaken in our belief that simply holding those virtues internally was sufficient…we should have done more and we need to do more from this point forward.

For this, we are sorry.

We now understand the difference between being non-racist, as we’ve been in the past, and anti-racist, which we are now and will continue to be in the future. We’re by no means experts on being anti-racist, we’re still learning and working to make GWS an ally of the Black community.

We are listening. We are learning.

We’ve spent the past week reading, talking with Black wedding professionals, sitting in on Black led Zoom panels about diversity in the wedding industry and having the difficult dialogues internally. Thank you so much to those of you who shared your voice with us this week. The one-on-one conversations and Zoom sessions helped us to identify our blindspots and areas in which we need to improve as a publisher.

Here are the steps we’re taking to change GWS and encourage change in the wedding industry:

  • We’re compiling a list of talented Black wedding professionals so our readers, the wedding community and planning couples may more easily find Black-owned businesses to work with for their weddings and events. 
  • We’re going to give Black wedding professionals the option of being explicitly identified as a Black-owned business when their work is prominently featured in a GWS editorial. In the past, when we’ve featured the work of Black-owned businesses, we’re never identified them as such in text. In our conversations with Black wedding professionals this week it’s clear just how important this type of spotlight is.
  • We’re in no position to grow our team, COVID-19 has hit us and the entire wedding industry quite hard, but when we are ready to once again grow, we’ll seek to diversify by adding a BIPOC member.
  • We’re going to feature Black wedding professionals in our Instagram Stories each week.
  • We’ve made donations to these two organizations: 
  • We’ll be speaking on the When Black Lives Matter, All Lives WILL Matter – a panel discussion with the Wedding Publication Community being moderated by Terrica Skaggs and Denise Lillie this upcoming week (exact date/time TBD)
  • We’ve joined the #UnityThroughCommunity initiative, a visual commitment for making the wedding industry more inclusive and diverse created by @cocktailterrica, @theflowerguybron, @cecedesignsllc, & @typebirdcreative. All participating members commit to:
    • Rid the wedding industry of racism, prejudice and bias⁠⠀
    • Support, promote and purchase from creatives of all backgrounds⁠⠀
    • Diversify our followers⁠⠀
    • Diversify our network⁠⠀
    • Diversify our clientele⁠⠀
    • Diversify the industry’s educational platforms⁠⠀
    • Commit to being accountable and holding others accountable⁠⠀

We encourage other wedding publications and professionals to join UnityThroughCommunity.⁠

The Wedding Community Working Together

While we can control the items above, some issues require a collective effort. So we’d like to invite the entire wedding community to join us in addressing the lack of real weddings of Black couples getting featured in print and online. We, and I’m sure other publishers as well, would love to feature more Black weddings, but we simply do not get that many submitted to us for consideration. For those who may not know, wedding publications rely on submissions from wedding professionals and couples as their source for real weddings, without a formal submission it’s almost impossible for a wedding to get featured anywhere. As such, we’d like to request that wedding professionals and couples please submit more weddings featuring Black couples. Give publications a chance to feature your beautiful Black weddings by finding one that’s a fit stylistically, and submitting. We want to share ALL stories of love on GWS and we’re sure our peers would agree.

To the members of our GWS community who are hurting – specifically to those who are part of the Black community – you are seen, you are heard, and we love you. As a white couple, we do not pretend to understand what you are or what you have gone through, but we promise we’re doing our best to ‘get it’ and will stand alongside you.

We want to move forward with purpose. It’s time to do the work to eliminate racial injustices, and make the wedding industry beautiful AND united. #UnityThroughCommunity #Blacklivesmatter

This is just the beginning and we welcome your voice. Please feel free to contact us at j[email protected] with feedback, suggestions, or more ways to support.

We will do better. We are in this together.

With love,

Jen + Jason
Founders and the Married Couple behind GWS

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