Living over 4 years ago by Liz Adams

Making A Change

artwork by Daria Rosen

I think we can all agree that the past few days have taken a heavy toll on our emotions. The racial injustice happening in America right now is tragic and what’s even more tragic is that this has happened time and time again for years and years and years. Until recently I’ve felt sad and heartbroken for the families of these victims when senseless acts of racism and/or murder happen, but in all honesty I’ve focused on what’s in front of me, not acting as a true ally for a community of people that I’ve always supported. I’ve used my privilege to hide from the heartbreaking, fearful reality our Black community is facing every single day. But what I’ve learned over the past few days is that there is a difference between being non-racist and anti-racist. We have to define and represent that difference. I’m not always going to be perfect but I’m going to do the best I can to know better and do better and be better. To exercise anti-racism by having conversations with my kids, teaching them to love thy neighbors, to welcome others with open arms, and look past the color of their skin. I will move forward with kindness and compassion. I’m committed to using my platform for good, to lean into uncomfortable conversations. To make Hello Adams Family feel like a safe place for everyone. I vow to be better.

As I’ve watched and listened and read I’ve realized that I need to formulate a gameplan for the actions I can take at home and here. I don’t want the momentum of this movement to fade away once the news stories stop and the protests end. It may not always be something that is consistently advertised and echoed for everyone to hear because I think bigger movements and more effective changes are made behind the scenes, with my family, making sure the future looks different. I promise to share the new habits that we form and the ways I plan to be more inclusive in my work. But I want to be honest and say that I feel overwhelmed. I want to make a change and I know I have a platform to promote change but there is so much that I should have been doing for so long that it feels overwhelming. So I’m going to absorb and let myself organize my thoughts and what I’ve learned and make a realistic plan. It starts with us. It shouldn’t be hard to be anti-racist. It should actually be very easy. Support women of color, Black people, the same way I’ve been supporting white brands, White people for all of these years. Open my arms a little wider, make space for the new. Celebrate diversity at home so that the idea of racism never exists in the eyes of my children.

I’ve felt overwhelmed with the vastness of this issue and determining ways that I can make a difference to something that feels so much larger than me. I wanted to share a few ways you can help:

Donate and support these amazing organizations:

Black Lives Matter / @blklivesmatter – building power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe.

Campaign Zero – working to end police violence in America by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.

NAACP – working to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

organizations local to Chicago:

Chicago Bond Fund / @chibondfund – through a revolving fund, CCBF supports individuals whose communities cannot afford to pay the bonds themselves and who have been impacted by structural violence.

My Block My Hood My City / @myblockmyhoodmycity – provides underprivileged youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood. Also working to repair small businesses in Chicago affected by the protests. 

I Grow Chicago / @igrowchicago – bringing justice, hope and love to Chicago and beyond. Working to grow Englewood from surviving to thriving through community connection and opportunity.

Chicago Urban League / @thechiurbanleague – supports and advocates for African Americans in Chicago by helping people find jobs, secure affordable housing, enhance their educational experiences, and grow their businesses. 

Support small business and brands founded by people of color:

Black Owned Chicago is a great resource to find restaurants, clothing stores, beauty brands, coffee shops—literally any business owned by someone in the Black community in Chicago.

here are a few shops I think HAF followers would love to support:

Kido Chicago is an amazing children’s store in Chicago filled with toys and books to introduce diversity into your kid’s collections. They also have adorable clothes!

Semicolon Bookstore is another Chicago-based store filled with beautiful reads, books for kids and great options to learn more about the history of the Black community.

Belle Up Boutique is another Chicago boutique that carries fashion brands that I know you already know and love plus a curated collection of maternity styles, too!

Pretty Please Teethers has the most beautiful teethers, paci clips, bibs, lovies and more.

Estelle Colored Glass is based in Charleston, South Carolina and has the most beautiful, colorful hand-blown glassware and cake stands. So incredible!

PUR Home is a natural, non-toxic Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent and Household Cleaners product line. Made with organic and raw ingredients that are plant-based, biodegradable and low toxic. I love their beautiful branding, too!

The Daily Yay has the cutest tees, party decor and sweet garland for your littles’ rooms. Such a happy shop.

Lem Lem is a brand I’ve loved for years, featuring some of my favorite summer and resort pieces that are beautifully made. They are currently offering 20% off with code F&F20.

Le Petite Organic is another beautifully curated children’s store. Wow!

Lorraine West Jewelry is simple and beautiful! I Just ordered this heart ring for my pinky finger.

HarperIman Dolls are all handmade and beautiful. The perfect addition to any doll collection.

Bolé Road Textiles is dreamy! Beautiful, airy and light textiles for your home. The pillows are gorgeous and I’m thinking about ordering some towels for our bathroom.

I’m embarrassed that it took this long to really open my eyes to the bigger issue of racial injustice in America. I want to say I’m sorry to those of you who follow me, who have felt the void of your presence and representation in my content. I’m not perfect and I admit that it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own little bubble and ignore the bigger picture going on outside. I’ve learned so much in the past two days (although I have YEARS and DECADES of information to learn) but what I’ve really tried to focus on is that we are all human. We all deserve the same thing. We all deserve to feel safe in our homes and in our communities. No Black child should be born with fear that their life won’t look the same.

So where do we begin? I don’t really know the answer. Start with the uncomfortable conversations at home, introduce diversity to your kids, lead with kindness and compassion and empathy. Be openminded, keep your eyes and ears open! Put yourself in a position to absorb and educate yourself. Make sure you’re registered to vote! This is a great resource for Illinois voters (I signed up for text message alerts so I’m always aware of my voting timeline) – I’m sure they have this for every state. And remember that change isn’t going to happen overnight. I’ve started by broadening who I follow on social media—here are some accounts and resources that I’ve really valued this week:

Ayana Lage is a bright light! Her tone, understanding and the way she gives her perspective on everything is extremely comforting but also makes you open your eyes to your own habits. Highly recommend watching her recent IGTV here and here.

Emmanuel Acho – his IGTV called “Dear White People” has garnered so many views and is incredibly informative and helpful! He is calling this series “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” and I hope it continues!

Danielle Henderson’s IGTV WOKE ME UP. So powerful, so uncomfortable. A must watch.

Light Watkins’ IGTV was another one that made me take a step back and think about racial profiling and how I’ve been guilty of this in my own life.

Chelsea Olivia has been honest and vulnerable and I’ve really felt her heart during this time. I know you guys would love her.

Rachel Cargle is a FORCE and everything she has shared has been a serious gut check for me.

from Lindsay Young on twitter.

Finally I want to share this, because we are all navigating the road ahead. We are all a work in progress and I promise to put in the work.

xo, Liz

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  1. Thank you so much for this! It is so important that we continue to educate ourselves, I am looking forward to utilizing some of the resources you have provided us!

  2. Liz, this was beautiful. Thank you so much for speaking out and sharing resources, especially when many others have been silent. It’s so refreshing to hear someone admit their shortcomings when it comes to racial injustice and describe concrete ways in which they will strive to be better. Add this to the many reasons you are my favorite blogger! <3

  3. With all due respect Liz, this should have been your wake up call:

    I’m not trying to be cruel, but I remember being pretty shocked at those photos when they were shared and that not a single POC was in attendance or represented (at least from what I can see). And I say this with love and appreciation for your blog and everything you do.

    I know your intentions are good and I respect you using your platform to elevate black owned businesses and justice educators and opportunities to contribute; though, the work starts at home and in your community. Like you said, let’s not forget about this momentum and movement tomorrow, or next month… or ever again.

    1. Hi Kim! I agree that that is disheartening to see! That event is actually not an invitation, it is a first come first available ticket opportunity and I don’t have any control over selection. I think the bigger picture in that is that my content and my platform hasn’t been of interest or relatable to the Black community or people of color. With no fault but my own. I think I made a pretty good point that I’m starting at home, where I stand right now and doing my best to share what I can. I hope you’ll have more faith in me.

      1. I understand, and appreciate your reply. My intention here was to show that lack of representation is something that your followers notice and care about. I trust you to take actionable steps towards preventing this in the future and know you’re already making that effort at home. Best wishes!

  4. Yes. All the YES.

    2020 feels different than 2012 (Trayvon Martin), 2014 (Michael Brown, Tamir Rice…God, I canNOT type his name without crying…rest in peace, Eric Garner), 2015 (Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray), 2016 (Philando Castile, Alton Sterling)…all the other years and all the other unjust deaths…

    because this time people like you are stopping, acknowledging, grieving, learning, apologizing and repenting (I’m Christian so I see it this way; to repent means to stop & turn around/go the other way), **being humble**, and publicly committing to growth and change and justice.

    THANK YOU. Do not be discouraged by people who are going to tell you you’re doing it wrong, it’s about time, all the things. You can own that, reflect on that, but move forward…and bring this huge, loving, beautiful, **highly privileged**–which means the **impact** can be massive!–community along with you.

    Can you imagine if each of your readers and followers VOTED differently–for the common good, now more aware than ever about systemic racism–not just for the good of their immediate family? Can you imagine if each of your readers and followers started giving regularly to orgs that support the cause? Wow.

  5. Thank you for doing this and taking it seriously. For tangible next steps you can take, I would suggest considering committing to an inclusivity rider for all of your sponsorships. In essence, it means you will not participate unless the sponsor is also including women of color in the campaign. I appreciate your thoughtfulness on these issues – not just this week, but into the future.

  6. I appreciate your honesty, and the resources. One thing that has resonated for me is how white my Instagram feed is. I appreciate you and other influencers calling attention to this problem and offering up some great POC to follow. My feed looks totally different today than it did a week ago, and I’m grateful for that! Also, I’ve been using Bookshop for years (because Jeff Bezos is rich enough), but thanks for sharing the black-owned bookshop. Just ordered another book through them specifically.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts along this journey. I have spent a lot of time evaluating myself, learning and educating myself on how to move forward after coming to the realization that being non-racist vs anti-racist is so so different. Thank you for sharing resources and ways we can become more involved and be a support to others.