The last nine days has been a lot to process for us at ZANEROBE. We were deeply disturbed by the murder of George Floyd, applauded the peaceful protest movement. Emotion and sorrow felt by everyone at ZANEROBE, on the other side of the world, in Australia. What people may not know is that we have a bigger following in the US than we do in our own homeland, spent more than a decade visiting, working and employing locals to service the great United States and it breaks our hearts that our second home is suffering so badly at this time.
So, what can we do? We’re half a world away, shielded from a socio-political crisis that our dear friends, colleagues and loyal crew are enduring every day, right on their doorsteps. A nightmare of a situation with no simple solution. All odds are against a quick and peaceful resolution given the decades and centuries of racism, injustice and inequality. But we can’t do nothing, that’s the easy path to take. So again, what can we do, and can our actions be significant enough to make a meaningful impact.
As a team we discussed how the events of the last nine days affected us, how the news and television images made us feel and what each individual can do to make a change for good. As a collective we decided that it’s not just a matter of being empathetic to a crisis but roll up our sleeves and actively engage in the reconciliation process. We have a strong platform to do just that and when aligned with a network of like-minded individuals and organisations, the work and message can be exponentially magnified.
We must listen. We must support those that have suffered, those we know and those we don’t. We must create a new normal, one that is beyond politics, race and class. Call out the bullshit and do so over a lifetime, not just the lifespan of its news coverage. We must redefine humanity so that everyone is treated, respected and appreciated equally, no matter what. Be vocal advocates, understand and educate ourselves, and it must be immediate, as of today.
As the founders of ZANEROBE, we’ll be making a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative on behalf of everyone associated with the brand. The EJI is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the US, challenging racial and economic injustice and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable. It’s a modest act in our eyes but the beginning of many more initiatives we aim to embark on. We will continue to support our good friends at Red Eye, an incredible network of volunteers mentoring children from under-privileged backgrounds.
The treatment of our own Indigenous community in Australia requires special recognition and advocacy also, so we’ll be supporting the Cathy Freeman Foundation, a charity that aims to support Indigenous kids during their school-age years, providing greater education standards and life changing opportunities.
We’ll continue to encourage, embrace and educate diversity in our own workplace, support movements and initiatives developed to drive further change. We’re committed to this cause unilaterally and universally, at home and abroad. This is our promise.
Further reading / educational resources
(US) Petition: Justice for George Floyd
(US) Race Forward: Systematic Racism
(US) ACLRC: Forms of Racism
(US) Clocks & Clouds: The American Dream
(US) Wall Street Journal: 1619 Project
(US) Peggy McIntosh: White Privilege
(US) Justice & Reconciliation: Restorative Justice
(US) NAACP: Criminal Justice Fact Sheet
(US) Teaching Tolerance: Race, Racism and Police Violence
(US) Clare Corbould: Racist Policing, Violence & Equility
(AU) Isabella Higgins: Indigenous Deaths in Custody
(AU) Justice Action: Deaths in Custody Proposal
(AU) Petition: Prevent Deaths in Custody Caused by Improper Restraint
(AU) Creative Spirits: Aboriginal Communities Breaking Down
(AU) Australian’s Together: Indigenous Disadvantage
(AU) Human Rights Commission: Workplace Cultural Diversity