A Letter to Our Community

A Letter to Our Community

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We are not going to pretend that we are not living in difficult times right now. The world is dealing with a global pandemic. Then, layer on top of that the horrific events that resulted in the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis. The aftershock of this and countless other horrific acts has awakened the world to the deep-seeded issues that exist in this country and have existed for centuries. Many of us do not know where to turn, how to act or what to do right now. Us included. 

We, as founders, have taken some time to self-reflect as human beings and as a brand. We continue this journey of self-reflection by listening to our community while keeping the momentum. We started this company for women. Women from all walks of life, races, ages and origins. It’s not just about motorcycles. It’s about empowerment across the board.

It’s a familiar story for many of us. Feeling unheard, unnoticed or for some, even targeted or discriminated against. These feelings have been experienced by many women but perhaps none more than women of color and specifically Black women.

We as founders have deep roots in the women’s motorcycle community. Being a part of this uplifting, empowering, welcoming and inclusive environment can make it easy to forget the struggles many face in the outside world. It’s easy for us to feel like we live in a world of equality where racism no longer has a home. Sadly, that is just not true and even sadder is that it takes a series of absolutely horrific acts caught on camera to wake us all up and come face to face with reality.

As individuals we are each on personal journeys of educating ourselves, protesting, donating, listening, reading and watching. How that journey will re-shape us is starting to come to the surface. As a company we are analyzing how our voice can play a role in the quest for change. Diversity is part of our DNA as a brand, not just a marketing strategy. There is so much more we can do. We want to hear from you. What can the motorcycle and fashion industry do to amplify Black voices? What can this industry do to be more inclusive? Where do you see opportunity for change? We are on this journey together. 

Here are some of the things we have learned and are taking an active part in:

  • Not just working with POC and Black women on creating content but also featuring them as people and sharing their stories. 
  • Reaching out to Black women in our community to get their feedback and ideas on products and what they feel is missing in the market. 
  • Dedicate time to educating ourselves on size inclusivity and expanding our size range. 
  • Attending more events that are geared toward Black women and POC so that we can have more face to face interactions which will inspire our brand story and product line. 
  • Hosting fundraisers that clearly and directly articulate where we stand as a company. 
  • Continuing to listen and learn 

 

In times of struggle and self-reflection we find that the best thing any of us can do for our mental state of mind ito ride our motorcycles.

  • Ride your motorcycle by yourself to clear your head.  
  • Ride your motorcycle to go visit your family for the first time in months.
  • Ride your motorcycle to gather your thoughts before a tough conversation.
  • Ride your motorcycle with friends as a way of supporting each other during these hard times.
  • Ride your motorcycle while listening to a podcast or book on tape about Black history in America.
  • Ride your motorcycle to a protest.
  • Ride your motorcycle to go find a quiet place in nature where you can be alone with your thoughts. 

Whatever journey you are on, riding your motorcycle will make you feel more empowered and more equipped to tackle whatever challenges face you. We are here for you, we are with you, we support you. - Atwyld

10 comments

Shar

Hi, I would like to know – are you entertaining MELYSSA MAY’s suggestion to take action? To empower a black (might I add fem) designer to produce an item you may offer to serve as a reminder that deep-seeded issues should not be hidden, but to exposed. Not that I expect ATWYLD to ‘take action’ but since you opened up the forum for discussion. Thought I would ask.

Shar
Gabi

I love your brand and appreciate your letter but instead of asking the community for recommendations, what about listing a few action items of how ATWYLD will be engaging communities of color – like reaching out to black, indigenous and Latino communities, empowering and becoming a role model to little girls, especially black girls, about motorcycling, sponsoring outreach events in vulnerable communities, partnering with POC designers, diversifying your staff, etc. These are things you could be doing already. The self-care points you listed are valid but quite individualistic, and honestly reflect a bit of privilege. I would love to read a letter of action items on what your company is committed in doing to engage communities of color. Good luck in your endeavors!

Gabi
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Love your clothes. Your opinions are yours not all customers.

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Melyssa May

Hey Atwyld, As a customer who’s purchased several pants, overalls, jackets, sweatshirts, and a cute hat over the last few years, I’m always blown away at the quality and styling of each piece. I eagerly await for the new hotness in my inbox. This note, however, underdelivered for me. We’re almost a month into the civil divide. A month. And for me, I’m 33 years into being a black woman trying to fit in and be accepted and valued at work , in social circles, and in the motorcycle world. I’m literally living in fear of being the next viral hashtag. There are some good intentions in your message, but it feels like it lacks direction. I appreciate the transparency into your feelings and all of the questions, and I wholeheartedly understand that it takes time to get on the level and truly understand the pain and hurt that a lot of black people have been feeling for a long time. But what need right now are actions. Instead of telling us to ride our bikes and asking us questions (I’ve been asked so many questions lately, no one cared enough before. I have so much work to do to keep people keen on this movement, I haven’t had a chance to ride more than a few dozen miles), ask yourself how are you using your voice and platform to help things change? You guys are huge. Pretty much the only moto brand that I vibe with and feel safe in. It would be dope to see a shirt or product from Atwyld where all of the proceeds go towards the Black Lives Matter or bail funds. Collaborate with a black designer maybe? It would have been impactful to see Black Lives Matter vertabim and explicitly in the copy somewhere. Otherwise, the messaging fails to dial into the major problem America has been hiding over the last 400 year. It’s a no brainer, that everyone loves the thoughtful care you put into your brand and apparel. This was a moment to stand up and declare where you stand and what you’re doing to support. This is a monumental opportunity for you to amplify black voices and educate your followers on how they can learn to take action as well. I’ve been trying to get people to listen all of my life and it’s gone nowhere. You have a gigantic audience that you can influence and this fell short :/] I hope you can understand this comes from a good place. I’m open to more discussion. Keep working at it!

Melyssa May
Chris Foster

Beautiful writing and great suggestions. Me personally – I will not listen to a podcast or a book while riding. Music is one thing but concentrating on meanings – messages and the flow of words is too distracting. Maybe that’s just me … but I know one must always be cognizant of 360 degrees around themselves while riding and be completely aware that you are on a bike! Great company with a great mission.

Chris Foster
Ohene  Gyapong

Thank you SO MUCH for writing this! To this story, I would add Wrenching – some people wrench their bikes to find balance, be it for maintenance, repair, or building. You can also ride your bike to do Charity Work (a Masks for Docs delivery if you have one near you) or to just help a neighbor on the other side of town he may need assistance but has lost their job due to COVID-19 conditions. Rev On! ~ Ohene (oh-henny)

Ohene Gyapong
Deirdre Featherstone

Beautifully written and very thoughtful. Thank you for sharing this with the ladies riding community.

Deirdre Featherstone
Sam Bertolino

This is great and I’m really glad to see you reflecting and working towards doing better! To address some of the questions you posed around how can the motorcycle & fashion industries be more inclusive and do better here are some thoughts: • Be sure to take an intersectional approach. Often brands make the mistake of targeting whatever marginalized group is on their radar when if we just started with an intersectional approach to begin with, we’d be more successful. For example, while we are looking to elevate the voices of Black women – let’s consider targeting queer disabled Black femmes. When you look to include those most oppressed, you will in turn, address more along the way. This also leads me to my next point, • When we say “Women”, who do we mean? I know that you do not intend to exclude trans and non-binary folx, but unless we are intentionally including, then we are excluding. So how do we do that? Think language, fits, size offerings, models, representation, ambassadors, employees etc. • Are you able to elevate BIPOC and/or Queer specific meetups/events? • When we think about diversity & inclusion whether that be at a company employee level or at an event or consumer level, don’t think about it as how can we add in more diverse people, but why aren’t they here to begin with? How can we work to break down the system that makes it so they aren’t here already? – Does that mean certain discounting structures for BIPOC & queer people or setting up a bike share program where people who have extra bikes can loan them out to those in need. Is it donating to larger foundations who are fighting the larger systemic issues? •Let’s rethink the notion of target customers, not be afraid to disrupt and upset, and think about the good that can be done and all the potential customers to gain. Thanks for doing the work and encouraging others to do the same!

Sam Bertolino
Eric Anderson

Well said ATWYLD! Motorcycling is a diverse culture…which is what makes it so attractive to so many. Yet, at the same time motorcycling tends (not always) to transcend race. We all ride…and that’s the most important connection we have to one another. Three-headed, blue aliens…welcome!

Eric Anderson
Julee

I admire your passion and empathy. Thank you.

Julee

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