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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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Weekly Newsletter Aug 4, 2020

Community Spotlight: Zuri writes!

We're big readers and it is an endless delight that we get to fill our libraries with the thoughtful, inspiring work of authors from within our Zuri community! If you're a writer, send us a message so we can be sure to add your work to our library!

Grace Talusan's first book, The Body Papers,  is a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, a Must-Read for the Massachusetts Book Awards, a Foreword INDIES Finalist, and winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. It recently came out in paperback, and we can't recommend it enough!

Edwidge Danticat is the author of many books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection and Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist. Her memoir, Brother, I'm Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. Her most recent book, Everything Inside, is a stunning must-read!

Audrey Ferber is fixture at the Writer's Grotto in SF, and her short stories have appeared in Fiction International, The Cimarron Review, The AWP Writer’s Chronicle, Literary Mama, the anthologies VIRTUALLY NOW, Eating Our Hearts Out, The Intricate Weave, and elsewhere. She was also one of our earliest supporters in SF, where she modeled our dresses in the SF Chronicle, and we're excited to share her newest work, here!

 

 

 

JULY GIVING UPDATE // Equal Justice Initiative

Thanks to your mask purchases, we are so proud that we were able to make a donation of $7,200 to the Equal Justice Initiative for the month of July. That brings the total contribution that we've made to EJI in the last two months to $15,930! We couldn't be prouder that we have been able to make this impact together, as a community! 

As we near the elections in November, we would like to direct our focus towards voter registration. For the month of August, we will be donating to the Voter Participation Center, which has a really smart and effective approach for getting the Rising American Electorate (young people, people of color, and single women) registered and voting through methodically tested mail programs, which are particularly important in the context of the pandemic. Voter registrations are way down in 2020 due to COVID-19, and now, more than ever, we are committed to making sure that all voices are heard and represented in our government.

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Richard II at the Public Theater

Whether you're a Shakespeare fan or just love live performance, this radio broadcast is for you! Starring Andre Holland and developed in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, this performance feels contemporary and resonant.

WHAT WE'RE READING // So Brutal a Death by Edwidge Danticat

In this essay reflecting on George Floyd's killing, Edwidge Danticat writes about the immigrant experience and global solidarity. "In the agony of his final moments, while crying out for his mama, water, and breath, George Floyd reached out to and became all of us. He has joined a vast community of people, across the globe, who see echoes of the injustices and the inequalities of their own societies in his American story, and recognize their own torment in his suffering."

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE

Ambrose Akinmusire is a trumpeter, composer and bandleader whose music both transcends and redefines his instrument's place in jazz.  He's been known for pitting contemporary classical music against deconstructed hip-hop, finding beauty in the fusing of two extremes. The next time you need to clear your mind, think of this album as your reset button; it'll change the course of your day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Newsletter July 28, 2020

Market Days

We usually travel monthly to the markets to source fabric for our clothing, and throughout the month are in touch with vendors to see what's new (in the market and in their lives!). While we aren't able to go to the markets now, we're revisiting photos from a recent trip to Dar es Salaam, and some of the fabrics may look familiar!

Meet Emmy! She always has the most wonderful prints, especially in the crackle batik style, and we're so excited to share Verdant and Cornucopia with you, both sourced from her!

 

 

 

Lunch is a pretty big deal for us in life and in work, and it's hard to express in words the feeling of relief and excitement when we sit down to a heaping plate of rice, veggies, fried tilapia and a bowl of beans!

The fabric section of the market is a mere fraction of the entire, much larger market, and it's always fun to wander through the other areas, especially where produce is being sold, to see what's in season and new! How amazing do these little peaches, tree tomatoes and passion fruits look?

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Les Filles de Illighadad

 

These filles ROCK!  Based in Niger, the lead vocalist and performer, Fatou Seidi Ghali, is one of the only female Tuareg guitarists in the region, and is completely self-taught. They have a beautifully rich sound and I promise you will keep this album cycling through your "favorites" for years to come.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell

 

 

 

This multi-generational epic weaves together four generations of families whose lives have sprouted from the fertile Zambezi delta. Serpell's evocative storytelling amplifies reality and gives us a lesson in history and a deep exploration of relationships and family.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Zenele Muholi at the Seattle Art Museum 

South African Zanele Muholi is a visual activist and photographer, and in this video, they talk about their work and while it's not a substitute for seeing their powerful, moving work in person, it's pretty close!

 

 

 

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Weekly Newsletter July 21, 2020

Customer spotlight: artists in Zuri!

Many of you in our Zuri community are artists, and we wanted to spotlight a few of you today who have included us IN your work! We've said it before and we won't stop saying it, we are continually inspired by this community and grateful to be in such talented company!

Kira Nam Greene continues to explore and expand her interests in the sociopolitical arena of female identity and sexuality. This painting was in her recent show, “Women in Possession of Good Fortune,” referring to the opening lines of Jane Austen’s novel, “Pride and Prejudice” and alludes to both the persistence of sexist assumptions and the achievements made by women from different races, ages and sexual orientations. The combination of representational fidelity and non-traditional geometries in Greene’s paintings celebrates the imagination’s role in creating a plural and malleable reality.

California based artist Chitra Gopalakrishnan is a graphic designer and painter, and we were so excited to see this piece, featuring Trivial Pursuit!

 

 

 

Hilary Puxley is a London-based portrait painter and we are in love with her self-portrait in Backgammon Jammin'! She has most recently been a part of a project honoring health workers and just completed a portrait of a nurse from the NHS.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business

We're huge fans of artist Betye Saar, and this documentary short takes us through her work in her words. From her early work to yet uncreated pieces, Betye walks the viewer through her studio, her past and her future.

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Pod Save the People with DeRay Mckesson

 

Hosted by activist and organizer DeRay Mckesson, this podcast covers the news and digs into politics and social justice. He specifically highlights issues that impact people of color and brings in experts, including Soledad O'Brien, who talks about racism in the media in the June 30th episode.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // ASK A SANE PERSON: JIA TOLENTINO ON PRACTICING THE DISCIPLINE OF HOPE

Staff writer at the New Yorker and author of the recent book of essays, Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino distills culture today with incisive clarity. This short interview with her is reflective and energizing, and we recommend a quick read!

 

 

 

 

 

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