Aisle was founded in 1993 as a feminist initiative to create more respectful and environmentally positive solutions to serve the needs of menstruators. We have a long history of explicit commitment and activism around social justice, trans inclusion, sustainability and menstrual equity.
We live in a racist society. We see this everywhere; in the backlash to Indigenous opposition to extractive and non-consensual use of their land, in the discrimination and fear visited upon those of Asian ethnicity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the repeated acts of violence and intimidation on Black people by police and other state authorities.
We are outraged. The protests that we have seen in our city and around the world are deeply needed. We stand in solidarity with those who are leading resistance to this lethal system. It is not the responsibility of people of colour to overturn white supremacy and we are humbled as we witness the strength and sacrifice of those who are rising up to demand simple justice.
Our activism to date has been primarily around menstrual equity, but we need to advocate more deeply for the ways that menstrual equity is a problem informed by race. In other words, if we do not understand menstrual equity within the context of white supremacist culture and systems, we are failing to fully understand or solve the issue.
Given this, we commit to ongoing, continuous, rigorous reflection internally and externally about ways we can stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous and other people of colour and work to dismantle white supremacist culture. While we are a small but mighty organization, here are some of our recent actions and plans (which collectively represents over 4% of our May 2020 sales in support):
- Making financial donations to Black-led organizing efforts in the U.S. and Canada including the campaign to rebuild Lake Street, BLM Vancouver, Black Visions Collective and becoming a monthly donor to Hogan’s Alley Society
- Increasing our support for Black-led menstrual equity advocates and their programs, including a donation to #HappyPeriod
- Vigilantly maintaining an ethical supply chain, including ensuring no suppliers use prison labour
- Donating 100% of our “business to business” cloth mask profits to The Black Women’s Program at Battered Women’s Support Services
- Donating money, cloth masks and reusable menstrual supplies to Iskwew Air, who is reaching remote Indigenous communities during COVID-19
- Participating in anti-racist and anti-violence initiatives through board and staff education programs, including sending team members for a second time to the equity, inclusion and justice-centered Stratagem Conference.
- Contributing cloth masks and menstrual cups toward a local initiative to provide self-care packages to 30 BIPOC community organizers in Canada and the US, as well as funding the shipping costs
- Empowering political action on this problem, including paid staff time to protest and advocate for racial and environmental justice as well as intersectional menstrual equity policy changes at all levels of government
We encourage our community members to join us in taking meaningful, lasting steps towards challenging anti-Blackness and other expressions of racism. A better world is possible if we are all willing to be self-reflective, accountable and willing to listen, learn and act. We are grateful for the leadership of Black and POC community members who have pointed the way for us to become a better company and better citizens.
The Aisle team