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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 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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Weekly newsletter June 9, 2020

Zuri Connection

We could not be more proud to be in the company of truly inspiring women who are working to make our world more equal and just. In a moment where we all must take action, we want to highlight some of the women in the Zuri community whose scholarship, creativity, and activism are enacting real, lasting change in dismantling structural racism in this country and around the world.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING AND READING // How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Dr. Crystal Fleming

Dr. Crystal Fleming is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at SUNY Stony Brook and author of How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide. We encourage you to watch this interview and to read her book. "To see all that we are still seeing in 2020, it should devastate you. It should make you question everything that you have been taught. It should make you question what it means to be a human being."

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Race, Power and Inequity in San Francisco with Shakirah Simley

Shakirah Simley is the Director of the Office of Racial Equity for the City and County of San Francisco. In this podcast she discusses the current state of equity and inequity in SF and the steps that the city is taking with consideration for SF's racial history towards meaningful change. We also encourage you to watch The Politics of Food presented by @AfroPunk and
@BlackFoodFolks in which Ms. Simley discusses the difference between being an ally and an accomplice and her own activism.

"Who are you showing up for? Are you showing up for you, or for the movement itself, or for the community? Decenter yourself in a way that connects the collaborative and the community versus the self... Our online activism has to be met with our offline action."

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Racism in Our Streets and Structures featuring Dr. Marcia Chatelain

We encourage you to watch this conversation featuring Dr. Marcia Chatelain, a provost's distinguished associate professor of history and African-American studies at Georgetown University. She is the author of South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration (2015) and an organizer of the #FergusonSyllabus

"I want everyone to sit down with their local budget and look at how much money is going into policing, policing in schools, as well as how much money is being spent bringing in arms from the Department of Defense's program into their local policing and ask themselves if they want state violence to be done in their name."

WHAT WE'RE READING // Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi

Ibi Zoboi was a National Book Award finalist for her novel, American Street, and in her most recent work, Black Enough, she edits an anthology of stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America. This young adult novel is ideal for 7th to 8th graders, and we encourage you to share it with the young readers in your life.

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Weekly Newsletter June 2, 2020

We've been struggling the last week with overwhelming rage, frustration and grief but just recognizing these feelings and the injustices that cause them is not enough -- we must take action. We are actively educating ourselves, reading, listening, engaging, speaking out and standing up against the white supremacy and systemic racism that this country has perpetuated since its founding, and we hope that you will join us. We've been sharing resources on social media that we have found helpful or have been recommended by others, we have more below (both new and from past newsletters), and we will continue to share.

Thanks to your support over the last two weeks, we have donated $10,000 to GiveDirectly's Kenya Covid-19 Fund, and starting this week, we will be donating all profits from the sales of our masks to the Equal Justice Initiative which is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in our society.

We really want to highlight the power of this community, OUR community -- thanks to your support, we have donated a total of 18,000 masks to vulnerable Kenyans, and now $10,000 that will support 334 people and help them through this pandemic in Nairobi, not to mention the jobs you've enabled us to continue to support through the production of these masks. We are strong and we are powerful when we come together.

Black Lives Matter. We cannot be silent, we must act. Join us.

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs

From legendary activist Grace Lee Boggs, this manifesto lays out her vision for a more compassionate, humanistic future and what we can do to bring it into our present. The world she envisions feels particularly prescient today as are reminded of the fragility and inequality in our social, political and economic systems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers

This conversation between feminist scholar Barbara Smith, activist Reina Gossett and activist and organizer Charlene Carruthers is an inspiring primer about Black Feminism and how it has been and continues to be foundational to social justice movements today.

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Code Switch

This podcast doesn't hesitate to talk about race. The hosts, journalists of color, take on all parts of modern life, from pop culture, to politics, to the economy and history, diving into how race plays a role in every aspect of all of our lives.

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