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*Originally published in the RedCamper Newsletter*

Hello Campers.

Amidst everything that is going on in our country right now, I want to take a moment to talk to you all.

First off, I'd like to introduce myself! My name is Patrice, and I have been working for RedCamper for almost a year now. I met Maura when she was bringing on seasonal workers for Colorado Whiskey Peach production last August, and almost immediately, I fell in love with her company. Since then I've dipped my toes in a few departments, and the more time I spend here the more I'm convinced that RedCamper and I are soulmates.

In an effort to give Maura more time to work on big picture aspects of our little business, and to give me experience in areas that I desperately want it, Maura has tentatively handed over the reins of our newsletter to me. I can see you looking at your screen like I've just taken your best friend from you, but fear not! Maura is still intimately involved in the communications we send you- the nuts and bolts of putting pen to paper (or keyboard to screen) has just been transferred to me. I'm sure we'll get to know each other over time, but right now there is an elephant in the room that needs to be discussed.

Urbanek,Michal. Digital image., 2020

RedCamper is a values driven company. For every decision we face, we make sure that our moral compass is calibrated to true North. That, aside from the appropriately named Deliciousness, is what has kept me on board thus far. In the spirit of leading with our values, I am compelled to give you all--our customers, friends, and supporters--our thoughts on the issues and protests rocking our country right now. 

Let me be as clear as possible. Black. Lives. Matter. We see nothing remotely controversial or political about that statement. And from a 37,000 foot perspective I'm sure you all feel the same. But this is a time to get into the nitty gritty. The "ands", the "ifs", the "buts", and the "what abouts". 

So lets go for the low hanging fruit here and talk about the violence and looting that has attached itself to these peaceful demonstrations. RedCamper is based in Denver, a city that has implemented a curfew and seen it's fair share of  vandalism and destruction over the last week. We are deeply rooted in the Small Business community in Denver and are fortunate to call many of the local businesses here personal friends. It breaks my heart to see businesses already affected by COVID-19 have to go through another setback, another unexpected obstacle. However, we do not blame the Black Lives Matter movement or organizers for this heartache and stand in solidarity with them for the heartache they are experiencing themselves. 

NAACP. Digital image., 2020

Now, you may be feeling paralyzed by the question of "What can I do?" Don't be hard on yourself: it's a big question- centuries in the making, and almost every single person is asking themselves the same thing. There's no one action that will solve hundreds of years of systemic racism. In fact, thinking that there is feels like a product of my own white privilege. However, there are thousands of little actions that when taken by millions of people over and over again, begin to look like change. In the words of Swami Sivananda, "A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts."

So spend your money at black-owned businesses. For those of us in Denver, 303Magazine has compiled THIS LIST of such businesses in our community, and It's being updated regularly. 

Educate yourself about the history of slavery and racism in this country. As the saying goes: you can't know where you're going until you know where you've been, and where we've been is gruesome. The 1619 Project is a great resource to teach yourself how slavery and anti-black racism have shaped this country since well before our widely-recognized founding in 1776.

Donate to the George Floyd Memorial Fund or to organizations doing the work you believe in. Campaign Zero is a great example, but there are so many others out there. If you want to donate but don't have the funds to spare go to THIS YouTube playlist, turn off your ad blocker, keep your volume at 50% or higher and hit the play button. The ads are generating money for Black Lives Matter.

Read the policy demands of Black Lives Matter and the NAACP regarding police reform. Then call your representatives to express your support for those policy changes. 

If you feel so inclined, then go downtown and join the protests. The Instagram pages @blm5280 and @denver.for.change provide information and resources to Denver residents wanting to participate.  

Learn how to be an ally. Not sure what that means? HERE is a video that sums it up pretty well. 

Have the uncomfortable conversations with your friends, family, and acquaintances about their actions and opinions. Do not shy away from a topic with someone because you'd rather not know or because it isn't polite conversation. Silence solves nothing. 

Here is a pretty awesome list of other resources and high-value action ideas you can take right now.  This list is curated by the Airbnb Black@ Employee Resource Group. And here is another a great resource for finding and supporting Black Owned Businesses 

Whatever you do, do it again. And again, and again. Let your actions help compose a mountain, or make up an ocean, or even save a life. 

We at RedCamper are here watching, listening, supporting. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming shortly. As always, thank you for your support of our company and feel free to reach out if you want to talk. 

-Maura, Carlos, Rachel, and myself, Patrice

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