By: Serenity Carr
My first reaction to the protests against racism and police violence across the country was a whirlwind of intense emotions. I felt grief and repulsion at the brutal and senseless murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I felt shocked and disappointed that justice was not being served. I felt angry and frightened that protesters demanding justice were met with rubber bullets and tear gas.
The unending images of police brutality were horrific and hard to process. I know it’s not the fault of individual police officers, but of an unjust system. While the violence escalated, I felt intense guilt. I thought, “What have I done for racial justice? All I’ve done is make baby food!” My guilt was joined by a realization: white privilege means that I have not had to think about race in my work or in my life. I have not had to understand racism in order to survive.
While I have been able to look away, I can't deny that our success at Serenity Kids has been advanced by our unearned privilege. I know now that if we were not white, we would not have been able to start this company as easily as we did. Lower- to middle-income white families have four times as much wealth as Black families in the U.S. Wealth disparity allows white entrepreneurs like us to amass wealth more easily, especially with the help of family and friend contributions, making our startup ventures less risky than those of Black entrepreneurs.
I realized that because white privilege has given us access to more business opportunities, we have a duty to use our voice to elevate less privileged voices. The legacy of slavery, police violence, and institutional racism is not our fault, but we can help break the cycle of oppression.
As George Floyd struggled with his last breaths, he called for his mama. For the person who would protect him, save him, love him. Mamas, that’s our job! We may not know what it’s like to lose our own child to racist violence, but those losses are grieved by mothers everywhere. We will stand together and dismantle the systems that hurt the children of humanity. And we will raise our babies to continue that work.
It’s time to move beyond guilt and find our role in the movement for change. Food access, birth, and early education are all racial equity issues. And our industry, the baby care industry, encompasses all of these! To understand how we can most responsibly act in our field, we’ve partnered with others who know more than we do. From these conversations, we’ve committed to these steps toward racial justice:
- We hired a professional consultant, Nikki Silvestri, the founder of Soil and Shadow and an advisor at JumpScale. Her expert evaluation of Serenity Kids will help us create an equitable company that fully participates in the racial justice movement.
- We joined a coalition of other baby companies to advance antiracism. In a country where there are more than twice as many food insecure Black families as there are food insecure white families, our initiatives will address racial inequity in food accessibility and maternal health.
- We will use our platform to educate parents and amplify marginalized voices. We want to regularly share the perspectives of families from diverse backgrounds, equip parents with resources to introduce diverse images, and help facilitate conversations about race and racism with young children.
- We donate to organizations that feed underprivileged kids and promote policy changes. The groups we support include food banks, foster homes, and alliances for mothers like Black Mamas Matter and Mama Sana Vibrant Woman.
By taking action, we are finding our place in what the activist Deepa Iyer calls the “social change ecosystem.” There is an important role for each of us to play. We want to be better builders, storytellers, and guides for a liberated world. We hope to build that better world with you, for all of our children.
Explore the resources below, and let us know what you think! What questions do you have? What other insights have you learned? What opportunities have we missed? Let’s help each other grow as disruptors of racial injustice. When we started Serenity Kids, we made a commitment to build a healthier world, one baby at a time—and that commitment means nothing if it is not actively antiracist.
Additional Resources for Parents
- Find your role in the movement by reading Deepa Iyer’s "Mapping Our Roles in Social Change Ecosystems (2020)".
- Support one of the birth organizations led by Black women and women of color listed here.
- Teach your young children about racism by reading these picture books with them.
- Follow the Black-owned businesses we love on Instagram, and buy their food products!