Our topic for the June Industry Roundtable was centered around Black Babywearing Week:
We’ve seen an increasing number of Black-led babywearing companies and industry-connected organizations. Many companies have committed to advocacy efforts to support, represent, and reduce harm to Black and African diaspora community members. How have the advocacy efforts of the last 5 years been working, where are the gaps, and how does the industry on the whole need to improve.
We had a host of people join the call, including leaders from Black Babywearing Week (and on FB/IG: @BlackBabywearingWeek,) Black-led non-profits and Black-owned carrier businesses. What we did not have were any of our regular roundtable participants or white/non-POC members! Shari Bennett, co-founder of Black Babywearing Week, offered the following feedback:
I do think it would have been nice to have more BCIA members here but as you said it’s the topics that speak to them and I don’t know how many have interest in supporting black babywearing educators and bbww, but it doesn’t seem like there are any from this. A little disappointed about that, not sure we can do much for getting collaborations, credibility and visibility without participation from [them], but thanks for the invitation and conversation. ❤️
We couldn’t agree more. While we’re thankful for the participants who showed up to put in the work and share their thoughts, it would have been a much more productive conversation had others shown up too. That being said, we covered some good ground and came up with some actionable items that the BCIA can tackle on behalf of the industry.
Here’s what we discussed and the actions we’ll be working on:
- Black-led/focused organizations need access to the same spaces, opportunities and industry audiences as white orgs.
ACTION: we are going to roll out some different networking opportunities, including industry roundtables geared around the non-profits working in our industry spaces, matchmaking between companies and organizations through our website and newsletters, and we are discussing a scholarship membership program to bring more non-profit orgs and providers into our industry spaces.
- Non-profit organizations are always looking to build relationships with reliable board members and volunteers.
ACTION: this is just preaching to the choir now! In seriousness though, we don’t have any magic answers to this one aside from networking and connecting. It’s going to need some further discussion.
- Small businesses need help with advertising, promotions beyond BCIA channels.
ACTION: we hear you! We’ll put this down as a 2021-22 membership want/priority and see what we can figure out.
- The BCIA Board of Directors looks pretty homogenous.
ACTION: we’re proud to be diverse in terms of culture, language, dis/abilities, sexual orientation and even religion but we agree, things are looking pretty white over here. We have lots of board members standing for re-election in the next year and we have room for new board members as well, so we will put this in as a priority in our board engagement planning for the upcoming term.
- Community/consumers would love a way of identifying companies (for example, Black-owned businesses, Woman-owned businesses etc.)
ACTION: This is an intriguing idea! We’re going to explore a resource (perhaps modifying our member directory) to allow companies to self-identify by various categories/icons, for example: Woman-owned, Black-owned, POC-owned, Queer-owned, Made in ___, Sustainable practices, etc. If you have thoughts, comments or a category that you would like to see captured, we would love to hear about it.
All in all, we came away from this roundtable with some solid actions to work on, and we appreciate the input! Looking forward to seeing everyone at July’s call so we can continue the discussions.