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BLEECKERVERSARY!

Three years at Bleecker St! <3 <3 <3

We're celebrating three years on Bleecker Street! It feels like only yesterday that we were visiting NYC from Kenya for our first big pop-up, and in a hasty whirlwind of excitement, decided to take a stroll down Bleecker Street "just to see" (and dream a little). We called all the FOR RENT signs one Sunday and were lucky enough that Nick, the broker for #363 answered our call! A few days later, we had a signed lease, a new shop and a much bigger family. We never could've imagined our incredible luck in stumbling upon the greatest landlords ever to have graced NYC.  We'll always remember when we met them that first year over Cuban food at our favorite spot on Christopher St. and they said to us, "We have one daughter, Katie, and now two more--you!" As if we hadn't already felt like part of the family, that first week when Arthur came downstairs with warm pork buns from his mom to welcome us, we knew we were home.

Many of you have met Paloma, who has worked with us since day one, after we interviewed her while all sitting on boxes in our empty store. We're so proud of her and the many other wonderful women who have passed through our doors and who we have the joy to continue to see grow.

Three years later, through snowstorms, countless tacos from Pedro at the Little Taco Shop around the corner, hosting so many of you who've traveled far and wide to visit, in the midst of a pandemic, we still can't think of where we would be, what we would be, without the family we've had the pleasure and honor to be a part of at 363 Bleecker. It's because of you that we get to keep our doors open, and we're so grateful for the opportunity. While we can never know what the future will bring, we're proud to be able to share it with you from our little perch on Bleecker Street!

WHAT WE'RE READING // Michaela Coel's Pressure Points by Durga Chew-Bose

If you haven't seen Michaela Coel's new show I May Destroy You, getting a subscription to HBO just to watch it is completely worth it. Deeply felt, brilliantly written and strikingly thoughtful this show is everything. This article and interview takes you into the mind of the show's creator, director and star and gives you a glimpse into the genius that is Michaela Coel.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Come Through with Rebecca Carroll

 

Join Rebecca Carroll, culture critic for WNYC, on this podcast where she hosts conversations about race, culture and identity with thinkers, artists, writer and politicians. We especially recommend listening to episode 9 with author Bassey Ikpi where they discuss the stigma that black women face when talking about mental health.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Baaba Maal

We love Baaba Maal, and this 2009 collaboration with New York-based Brazilian Girls brings a fresh sound to both of their work.  Each song on the album is totally different than the one before it, so it can be a little disorienting to listen to, but every one truly deserves to be heard.  (Hint--if you like Manu Chao, you might love this album!

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Voter Registration Drive ✨

Voter registration drive!

With less than two months until the elections and so much at stake, we decided that in addition to donating to voter registration efforts, we would like to step up and start a voter registration drive at our stores! 

If you're already registered, GREAT! If you're not sure about your registration, you can find out here! If you're not sure if you're going to vote, register anyways, so that you CAN!

While it's super easy to register online, sometimes it takes a nudge (socially distanced, of course), so pop by our shops and we'll help you get registered!

Your vote matters, and together we can take action to protect our democracy and create a humane, generous and equitable place for all of us!

WHAT WE'RE READING // A Litany for Survival: Giving birth as a black woman in America by Naomi Jackson

American women are more likely to die in childbirth than women in the rest of the developed world, and black women are three to four times more likely to die than white women, regardless of income or education. In New York City, black women are nearly twelve times as likely as white women to die during childbirth or in the postpartum months. In this essay, writer Naomi Jackson shares her experience and illuminates systemic biases in our healthcare system.

WHAT WE'RE READING // Read a Book! with Kara

This is not exactly a reading recommendation, but more of a book club recommendation! Kara Brown is a writer, pop culture critic, podcast host and reader. She just launched a book club where she selects a book each month, and at the end of the month hosts a conversation along with really cool writers! We just joined and hope you will, too!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Ethio-jazz

 

Best known for his nostalgic, smooth sound, Mahamoud Ahmed got his start in 1962 at the Arizona Club in Addis Ababa. When one of the singers for Haile Selassie's Imperial Bodyguard Band didn't show up, he offered to sub-in and has since become one of the most influential musicians within the Tizita tradition of Ethio-jazz.

 

 

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GIVING UPDATE // Voter Participation Center

GIVING UPDATE // Voter Participation Center

For the month of August, we decided that we wanted to direct the proceeds from our mask sales to the Voter Participation Center because we strongly believe in the importance of representation in our political systems and that the first step to accomplishing that is through voting! The Voter Participation Center has helped millions of people to register to vote, and has focused specifically on outreach to women, BIPOC and young people. Thanks to your mask purchases, not only are you making us all safer by wearing a mask (!!!) but you've enabled us to donate $5,000 this month to support creating an inclusive and representative democracy.

WHAT WE'RE DOING // Registering to VOTE

Are you registered to vote? Think you are but aren't 100% sure? Register here, and then check in with your friends and family! There are 62 days left before the election, and together, we can make our voices heard!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Vote! The Podcast with Kat Calvin and Andrea Hailey

The executive directors of Vote.org and Spread The Vote, Kat and Andrea answer all your questions and more about voting! If you want to learn more about voter suppression, how voting by mail will actually work, or more about mobilizing the youth vote, take a listen, and of course, don't forget to register to vote!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // PRISCILA TOSSAN

The latest album by Brazilian singer and songwriter Priscila Tossan is bound to become one of your new favorites.  With an original sound that is ultra smooth, but a strong enough beat to keep you moving, it's the perfect album for a late summer's afternoon.

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Weekly Newsletter Aug 25, 2020

Production Update!

We are grateful that from the start of the pandemic, Kenya took a pro-active approach to managing Covid-19, including closing down international and urban borders early on in order to minimize spread and exposures. As a result, we have been able to continue to operate our production, with safeguards in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of our team. Keeping our production going has been a top priority for us because it has allowed us to keep 100% of our team employed (including Maggie and Benedetta above), while generating income for their families, safely. We thought that you might be curious to see for yourself, and to meet some members of our team

Hello Irene! Irene is in charge of final measurements, checking every dress and shirt to make sure that the correct arm has been attached to the correct shoulder, and that everything is cut and stitched to the right size!

Meet Nancy! She's responsible for sorting all of the parts of our dresses before they are stitched! After receiving them from the cutting room, she organizes them by size, and makes sure that from collar to cuff, placket to pocket, we're always in good "shape".

Mariam does final checking on each of our dresses, which means that she inspects the entire garment to make sure that it's looking its best for you! She makes sure our cuffs are well stitched, our buttons are sewn tightly, and our seams are straight as can be, so that your dress looks 100% by the time it ships out!

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Toyin Ojih Odutola in Conversation with Yaa Gyasi and Texas Isaiah

Artist Toyin Ojih Odutola has a new show opening at the Barbican in the UK, and since most of us can't visit, we are watching this conversation about her 2018 show at the Whitney instead! We love how Ojih Odutola's work speaks as much through subject as through texture, and we can't wait for the opportunity to see her work in person again soon!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Vieux Farka Touré

The son of legendary Malian guitarist, Ali Farka Touré, Vieux Farka Touré entered the music scene at a young age by playing percussion (calabash and drums), and his solo guitar compositions have been celebrated worldwide. After a chance meeting in Germany, he wound up playing an impromptu session in Tel Aviv with singer-songwriter Idan Raichel--if you haven't already heard the Touré-Raichel Collective, it's truly worth a listen.

WHAT WE'RE READING // THE LIFE BREONNA TAYLOR LIVED, IN THE WORDS OF HER MOTHER by TA-NEHISI COATES

Many of you already know about Breonna Taylor, but for those who don't, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police when they illegally entered her home on March 13, and to date, no one has been arrested or charged in her murder. Through a series of interviews with her mother, Tamika Palmer, Ta-Nehisi Coates shares with us a portrait of her life. 

 Want to take action? Here are some ways to demand justice:

 

 

-Sign this petition asking for the officers involved to be arrested and charged and for Congress to pass legislation that federally bans “no-knock” warrants.
-Donate to the GoFundMe for Taylor's family.
-Send an email to the Kentucky Attorney General, Mayor, and Governor using the links provided here.
-Read this report by The Marshall Project about bills passing through Congress that would ban no-knock warrants in federal law enforcement and take away funding from local police departments that did not do the same. Contact your local representatives and ask them to support this legislation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Newsletter Aug 11, 2020

Community Spotlight: Zuri farms!

If you, like us, are just REVELING in the bounty of summer and endless tomatoes and peaches, you'll also be as excited as we are to celebrate some of the incredible, inspiring women in our community who are building sustainable, ethical and inclusive food systems.

Shellie-Ann Kerns runs Bunkhouse Acres, a 20-acre homestead and designated tree farm in the Middle Satsop Valley, in the homelands of the Tsihalis Salishan people in western Washington. Through sustainable and regenerative land management techniques including permaculture, biodynamic farming and companion planting, Shellie-Ann is creating a farm that is connected to the history of land and an inclusive local farm network. Learn more about the farm and support Shellie-Ann's work here!

Lizy Bryant is a queer, Black, emerging land steward born and raised in Minnesota. She is currently fundraising to buy 25 acres of land and farming infrastructure an hour outside of the Twin Cities, which will be converted into an agricultural and artistic resource for Black Minnesotans and their families. When fully operative, this land will function as a farm, a gathering place, a learning facility, and a generative nexus for wellness and creativity. If you'd like to support Lizy's work, please follow the link here!

Dalila Boclin is the Director of Programs at FRESHFARM, a nonprofit based in DC that focuses on building a better food system by connecting the dots between sustainable agriculture and food access. If you live in DC, Maryland, or Virginia, maybe you've visited one of their 33 farmers markets, or seen their FoodPrints programs at DC's elementary schools. Since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, FRESHFARM has provided 100% fresh, locally produced food to over 9,7000 residents of the area, supporting both vulnerable urban communities as well as dozens of family farms during this critical time.

WHAT WE'RE READING // Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

In her mid-twenties and unsure about what to do with her life, Emira finds a job baby-sitting for the Chamberlain family. A confrontation at a local supermarket while watching the Chamberlain's toddler sets off a vortex of events that bring us into the complexity of race, gender, economic status and transactional relationships. This novel is so engrossing that you won't be able to do anything else until you finish it, so make some time and enjoy!

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // Interview with Isabel Wilkerson

Ever since reading her definitive history on the Great Migration, Warmth of the Other Suns, I've been eagerly awaiting the release of Isabel Wilkerson's next work. Her new book, Caste, was just released, and this interview is the perfect amuse bouche for those of us eagerly checking our mailboxes waiting for her new book to arrive!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Syli Authentic

In addition to a fantastic sound, what's so incredible about the Guinean band Syli Authentic is that the members were all students, ranging in age from just 14-16.  The sound is rich and complex; it's a happy reminder that young people are truly capable of amazing things.

 

 

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