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Building Businesses
November 21, 2017 12:21 pm | by

Not long ago, we were approached by Little House on the Prairie regarding licensing prints on our diapers. As I considered the opportunity, my daughter brought home the books and began reading the series. As she read, she was filtering those stories through the lens of current political and social events, reflecting wisdom and awareness beyond her years. In her own way, she was reminding her mama about the importance of learning from history through our modern experience and reflecting that learning experience into something purposeful for the future.

As we engage with early pioneer history, we find stories to tell of brave people with good hearts who did good things. There are stories to tell of bad people with cruel hearts who did terrible things. Then there are the stories to tell about good people who suffered unspeakably.  

There’s a lot of life that happened in the middle of those events too; butter making, quilt making, barn raising, baby birthing, one-room schoolhouses, blizzards and so many other stories. Somehow, people thrived simply; making ends meet with what was available.

We can’t go back in time to change the difficult stories that unfolded during that time, but we can work to learn from the past and use that knowledge to affect change around us.  Learning happens through listening to the people who were affected, hearing their stories, and acknowledging their pain. Only then can we move forward to bring change.

We still live in a world where some still face discrimination and oppression every day. Two people walking down the same street at the same time will be given different opportunities solely based on perceived differences in how they are human. We can choose to engage with that world and help our kids learn so they are less likely to repeat the mistakes of the past and more likely to create a better tomorrow.  As we teach them to see injustice and to speak up, they will help to end it. Instead of building buildings, they are pioneering real communities.

To inspire that kind of change, we are writing some grant checks to entrepreneurially-minded businesswomen to help in the growth of their business. Our goal is to elevate businesses that may have been denied opportunities because of discrimination. Strong businesses and strong business owners help communities grow stronger, building bridges and breaking down walls. These women have spoken up, created powerful goals, amazing products, and are working to make their small businesses successful, build families, and build communities. With your support of their products, we could change some lives. We can stand with these individuals as they pursue their dreams and passions.

You can read more about these women, their businesses, and their stories:  Mishi Booker, Hey Carter Books and Maria Running Fisher Jones, TPMOCS.

We seem to be in a constant state of change as, together, we learn, we increase awareness, and, again, move forward. The work we’re doing to learn and grow towards a better tomorrow can ACTUALLY BECOME that better tomorrow for our children. We are raising children who will, one day, bring an end to racism. You might not feel like you matter that much in the overall story arc of how this gets done, but every little change you make adds up to a substantial difference.

Be a listener. Actively learn. Be willing to change. Be a teacher. Acknowledge hurt. Believe the stories. Intervene. Show up. Be a friend. Most importantly, teach your children how to recognize injustice and how to take action. Show them how to practice kindness, decency, respect and how to SPEAK UP.  These are character qualities that require courage and a pioneering spirit.  We live in cities likely built by early pioneers.  Tomorrow, we will live in communities led by people bold enough to pioneer an end to injustice.

Support these women.  Let’s help them change tomorrow, together!

About the Author

Jenn is the founder of Cotton Babies & creator of bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum, worldwide leading cloth diaper brands. She has four children (Andrew, Oscar, Elsie and Louis) and holds an MBA from Washington University. When she's not working full time, she enjoys teaching business leaders how to implement sustainable economic & social change.


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