Inspirational Beauty Everywhere | What’s Next for Jillybeads 4 Justice…

Photo Taken by Nikole DeZao

It’s hard to fathom that it’s been almost 3 months since the launch of Jillybeads 4 Justice! Now don’t get me wrong, there were many tasks that went into making such an event a reality. However, in many ways, it was simply the starting line.

Just like the athletes who did and will compete in London, when the whistle blows or the gun fires is truly when the real work begins—everything else was simply preparation. As many of you know, Jillybeads 4 Justice is not what pays the bills (at least not yet). As a result, the work happens in the evenings, during lunch breaks, and on weekends and holidays. For some, that may seem like too much to balance. For me, its easy to put in the extra time after an already long day when it’s created from my heart and passion—the desire to have something to call my own that allows for the intersections of my interests to Advocate, Educate, and Accessorize.

Advocate: to speak or write in support or defense of a person or cause.

Those that know me, know that I’m vocal about the causes I care about. They vary from women’s issues (e.g. Title IX, freedom of choice, empowerment, etc.) to LGBTQ rights and marriage equality to racial and economic justice to education to our Mother Earth. Despite the breadth, there’s a unifying factor—social justice. I’ve been privileged to have the resources to critically analyze my experiences as a Black queer woman living in a perceived “post-racial,” heteronormative, patriarchal U.S. society. I pull a lot from my personal experience, as it’s the best “data” I have at my fingertips.

Yes, Jillybeads 4 Justice is a business. A business that advocates knowing that activism is political and courageously takes a stand for justice. I believe our purpose is to use our voice and networks to advocate for the great work that’s being done in the Bay Area, throughout the country, and beyond the U.S. borders. In order to do so, I believe it takes teamwork with like-minded individuals. Thus, Jillybeads 4 Justice (J4J) will be collaborating with causes and organizations to further support their work while getting the word out about J4J.

You might be thinking, “What will this look like?” The first action will be what we call, Challenge Week. Challenge Week will be a Featured Organization that Jillybeads 4 Justice is showing extra LOVE to during a specified week(s) by doing the following:

  • Donating $5 from each piece sold;
  • Offering free shipping on all custom orders; and
  • Giving Voice to the Cause through a guest post on the J4J blog.

It’s the kind of win-win we  at Jillybeads 4 Justice—a piece of jewelry is sold and great work is supported!

Stay tuned for the first Challenge Week, which will kickoff the launch of our Fall Collection…

Educate: to inform a person or group.

In many ways, education comes before advocacy. I could argue, you have to become knowledgeable—personally and intellectually—about what you care about before taking action. Much of my knowledge has been acquired traditionally through higher education, yet I believe knowledge is everywhere and should come from more than the dominant source. This work is personal. I will always share what I know from my mind and heart while a community of smart, brilliant, thoughtful, and passionate people that’s constantly expanding inspires my work. I also believe its just as much my mission to share the “mic” and give voice to those who are engaged in the work that Jillybeads for Justice supports.

Since launching J4J, I would say I have continued being a perpetual learner. Much can be learned from a book, yet I would say my favorite medium is through travel whatever the means—car, plane, train, or boat. Since April, I’ve had the great fortune to visit numerous cities, 9 states, and Canada through varying means. I enjoy exploring what each city, state, and country has to offer in terms of culture, food, shopping, and recreation while capturing the great moments through photos (See my album of 2012 Summer Inspiration). On many of these adventures, I’ve acquired the beads that will inspire the 2012 Fall & Holiday Collections.

This “live” education reminds me that we all have a role to play. One of these roles is teacher. I have the upmost respect for teachers and educators at every level. This is why I love my “day” job because I, as a member of a team of people, have the privilege of supporting teachers all over the country to conduct teacher-led professional development (lesson study) with high-quality resources. Then we research the impact these resources have on both teacher and student learning. As Deborah Kenny states in her book Born to Rise, “Education is not about developing products. It’s about developing people.” Even though Jillybeads 4 Justice sells a product, the product is simply a means of enacting praxis—a cyclical process of reflection and action. Thus, advocacy informs reflection and often more knowledge. It’s my hope that through this journey I can educate those who support Jillybeads 4 Justice.

Accessorize: to equip the public with high-quality unique handmade jewelry that inspires.

I have many ideas for the 2012 Fall & Holiday Collections floating around in my head. I’ve been inspired by the beauty in every city I’ve passed through or intentionally visited, as well as the many people I’ve met, the knowledge gained, and visions for which I aspire. I’m stoked to see how the beauty that’s been infused into my soul translates into beautiful pieces to wear.

Stay tuned for the results, which will launch in early October with the introduction of the 2012 Fall Collection!!!

~One love~

CALL 2 ACTION: For many the Olympics is over, not so! The 2012 Summer Paralympics Games kick-off this week in London (Wed, August 29—Sun, September 9). For more information, check out: http://www.london2012.com/paralympics/ and tune into the channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/USParalympics1. Show your support for ALL athletes!

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