The team at Twenty One Toys shares in the sorrow and outrage at the continued racial violence against Black people in Canada, the United States, and around the world. We are heartened to see so many people taking action, and we are hopeful that this is more than a brief moment. It will take sustained work by all of us to ensure that Black lives are valued, treasured, and celebrated.
Empathy is not a feeling, it’s an action
We have been working to show that empathy is a critical skill, but sometimes we forget to highlight that it’s an action. Empathy requires you to take on the perspective of another person, actively listen to them, recognize their feelings, and make a choice to connect with them. It requires you to feel with another person, not for them. Empathy is active work, and it requires us to do more than observe.
As an organization we are committed to investing in the resources and activities we didn’t seek before, resources necessary for our team to have more uncomfortable conversations, and to engage meaningfully in making our community safer and more just.
Below is a summary of what our team members are doing, and what we are committing to as an organization. We invite you to join us:
Learning & Listening: Our Reading Suggestions
There are a number of great books and resources out there for you to start reading, discussing, and digesting.
Books that members of the Twenty One Toys Team have read and recommend:
You can also find a large list of Anti-Racism Articles, Videos, Podcasts, and more, compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein in May 2020 here.
Amplifying Black Voices: Leaders We Follow
We have an opportunity to amplify the voices of Black leaders and activists to our community.
Here is a list of Anti-Racism Educators and Activists to Follow, recommended by resilience educator Komal Minhas:
Brittney Packnett-Cunningham - American activist, author, MSNBC Contributor, proud member of the Ferguson uprising, and co-host of American political podcast Pod Save the People.
Monique Melton - Anti-racism educator, published author, international speaker, and host of the Shine Brighter Together podcast.
Alicia Garza - American civil rights activist and author known for co-founding the international Black Lives Matter movement.
Layla F Saad - Speaker, teacher, and author.
Patrisse Cullors-Brignac - Artist, organizer, and freedom fighter. Co-founder of Black Lives Matter and founder of Dignity and Power Now.
Rachel Cargle - Public academic, writer, and lecturer, whose work is rooted in providing intellectual discourse, tools, and resources that explore the intersection of race and womanhood.
Educators, facilitators, and champions from our community:
Karlyn Percil Emotional Intelligence Coach, Facilitator, creator of Amplify Her 2020 and the Success Planner, and CEO of KDPM Consulting Group – a full service leadership, equity, diversity, and inclusion consulting firm.
Jam Gamble Educator, Mentor, Public Speaker, founder of Slay the Mic – a unique coaching program designed to help you speak up and show up.
Avery Francis Champion of diversity, inclusion, HR Advisor, founder of Bloom – a collective of talent experts partnering with companies to build diverse teams, develop equitable hiring systems and design inclusive hiring practices.
Orlando Bowen Keynote speaker, corporate trainer, youth empowerment facilitator, and founder of One Voice One Team – a non-profit that works to address some of the biggest challenges facing young people by facilitating powerful sessions that include inspirational storytelling, fitness activities, and mentorship.
“If you haven’t posted or shared anything to amplify Black voices and experiences yet, now is the time to do so”– Avery Francis, CEO of Bloom, HR Advisor, and Diversity and Inclusion Champion
Donations: Supporting Anti-Racism Work Long-Term
Organizations that have been working towards greater justice long before our company existed need ongoing, financial support to keep doing their important work. If you have the means, we encourage you to join us in committing to monthly donations to the organizations listed below.
As an organization operating in Toronto, Ontario Canada on the traditional territory of the Anishinabewaki, the Huron-Wendat, and Haudenosaunee we have donated to the following local organizations:
Black Women in Motion A youth-led organization that empowers and supports the advancement of black womxn and survivors of sexual violence with consent and mental health education, advocacy, and support.
Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) A non-profit community legal clinic that provides free legal services for low or no income Black residents of Ontario.
Black Lives Matter - Canada Our local chapter of an organized movement dedicated to non-violent civil disobedience in protest to police brutality. Twenty One Toys’ Anti-Racism actions and education work is informed by the demands published by Black Lives Matter Toronto, so that we can support their priorities and continued work.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, and it will bend toward justice if we bend it.”– DeRay Mckesson, On the Other Side of Freedom
Examining Our Biases: As Individuals and as a Team
As a team, we are taking this moment to create space for learning, reflection, and education to allow for uncomfortable and challenging conversations. We will be doing this in both informal and formal ways. Informally, we will be choosing books, articles, and videos to review and discuss as a team. Formally we will be hiring professionals to support us in furthering our learning, and attending workshops around anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.
The team at Twenty One Toys is dedicated to continuing this process of learning and action, together and as individuals. We look forward to having more conversations and learning with our community moving forward.