When reading the word “sustainability,” the first images that come to mind are often green initiatives and “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” slogans. Sustainability stretches far beyond making sure the planet can withstand centuries to come though. After all, supporting a flourishing planet for humans will be fruitless if the cultural environment does not allow those humans to flourish alongside the planet. Creating a sustainable future means improving the present landscape so that the next generation, and those to come, are given an environment where they can thrive.
The current socio-political climate is more tenuous than ever. Institutional racism has been creating roadblocks for BIPOC Americans since the USA was founded, but each year sheds more light on these issues. 2020 brought a monumental wave of awareness towards the plights of minorities, and Black Americans in particular with the BLM protests. More people now than ever are cognizant of how broken our society is – and that the work needs to be put in today lest we surely shatter tomorrow.
While JET NOIRE’s products are made to nurture nature, all pillars of sustainability are important, so we also strive to support communities that are working to improve the future for everyone, especially those often overlooked. Each year we give back a portion of our profits to an organization aligning with JN’s values, and for 2021 we are backing the wonderful Pretty Brown Girl Foundation. As the brand enters a new era of visibility and content, we wanted to make sure you knew all about who this year’s purchases will be helping.
The Pretty Brown Girl Foundation is an inspirational non-profit taking action to combat society’s insidious degradation of women of color that erodes their confidence from a young age. Founder Sheri Crawley first realized this issue must be addressed when hosting a birthday party for her young daughter in 2010 at a toy store. She witnessed all the young Black girls in attendance reach for white dolls at the store, and that furthermore, seldom non-white doll options were available in the first place, let alone any dolls of color that accurately represented themselves (Read more in Crawley’s blog post here). After that harrowing experience, she was hit with how major the skin-tone related self-esteem issues that resided within these children were, and that something must be done.
Sheri Crawley, an esteemed executive, and strong leader herself, was determined to change the narrative. Her initiative began immediately in 2010 as her and her husband Corey started making their own dolls and accessories that would provide representation for young girls like their daughter. They did not stop there, soon partnering with schools in Michigan to create an after-school program spreading the message of confidence and acceptance to marginalized students.
In 2014 Crawley officially founded The Pretty Brown Girl Foundation (a 501c3 non-profit organization) to “inspire positive self-esteem and self-love among young women of color.” They speak with elementary through high school aged girls, running workshops that educate on social, emotional, and intellectual well-being to inspire self-acceptance through the five D.R.E.A.M. principles expressed in their official pledge:
Remember You Are Beautiful Inside and Out
Enjoy Learning and Laughing
Always Believe in Yourself
Make Healthy Choices
Since then, they have been helping inspire young Black and Brown girls across the country. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed them to “overcome geographical barriers and reach over 5 million girls around the United States and beyond.” Pretty Brown Girl Academy, a virtual club for Black and Brown girls in 3rd-12th grade, was launched for the 2020-2021 school year. The academy’s goal is to provide an educational environment for young Black girls to feel seen and learn from a variety of experiences they may not have access to in traditional school, as well as a healthy alternative to social media. It features live online sessions with a mentor along with a discussion forum that the girls can use to talk with their mentor throughout the week and the official PBG Empowerment Kit.
On top of their supplemental school programs, they have established the official International Pretty Brown Girl Day on the fourth Saturday of February, choosing a different theme of empowerment and corresponding activity every year. There is also the PBG D.R.E.A.M. Scholarship Awards that provide girls of color who are hoping to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities anywhere from $2,000-$10,000+ to lighten the financial burden of higher education.
They truly fight against injustice whenever they are able, taking action to combat racially unjust cases such as “Grace, a 15-year old Black girl in Michigan who was sentenced to juvenile detention for incomplete online coursework” during the pandemic (Learn more about her case here). PBG stepped in to raise awareness, as well as legal funds for Grace, and hope to do so in the future for girls just like her being unfairly categorized as delinquent for not being provided with the same tools for success as their white peers. The foundation strives to break the cycle of one-size-fits-all solutions for diverse ranges of students and advocate for protecting the mental health of BIPOC youth instead.
The Pretty Brown Girl Foundation is an exceptional example of the exact initiative needed to push society towards a more inclusive world. Uplifting the voices of those often silenced is vital to push for a more sustainable society and we cannot wait to see what new heights are reached by PBG and the millions of girls they have helped. JET NOIRE is honored to support such an important cause and help advocate for self-love in our future leaders; we hope you will join us in doing so throughout 2021.
To read more and find other ways you can get involved, head to prettybrowngirl.org
When making your next JET NOIRE purchase, be sure to check the donation box at checkout to donate a portion of your purchase to The Pretty Brown Girl Foundation and support their cause today.
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