Pom Pom was born in 2012 from the idea that there wasn’t a knitting or craft magazine that reflected our lived experiences or perspectives. Over the years, we’ve made a concerted effort to make our pages and platforms as welcoming as possible. We are indebted to activists in our community for helping us to greatly advance in the areas of anti-racism and wider inclusivity of marginalised groups over the past two years. We know there is much more to do and we are committed to doing this work.
For every meeting, every decision, and every project we at Pom Pom engage in, we ask ourselves, “Are we viewing this via a lens of equity and justice? Will this uplift, affirm, and inspire people who have been historically marginalised?” Our aim is to always ask ourselves this question and ensure that Pom Pom is a safe and equitable space for all who choose to join us. Below are some of the ways that we are working towards this goal.
Before moving on to our list, we must emphasise that Black Lives Matter. Black lives matter to each of Pom Pom’s staff individually, and to us as an organisation. Black lives matter to the knitting and crochet community, and Black lives matter to the many communities represented among our readership. Black lives must matter in all places, to all people, every day. We believe that all Black lives should urgently matter in the knitting and crochet community and that, as a collective community, we have a long way to go before this is fully actualized.
Pom Pom is a craft magazine, but our goal is also for Pom Pom to be a place of solace, a place of learning, and a place of care. As an organisation that has a platform with thousands of readers and followers, it is our passionate commitment and duty to do our part in dismantling racism wherever and whenever we can. Ways in which we are committed to doing so include, first and foremost, amplifying voices from the Black community. These voices are not a monolith, so we aim to feature more work by Black designers, writers, and artists sharing varied viewpoints and experiences. Click here for a list of anti-racism resources we've found helpful as a team.
The Pages of Pom Pom
Our content is only as diverse and inclusive as its creators. We are passionate about ensuring that Pom Pom not only appears inclusive, but is truly so beyond the surface. We aim to achieve this by:
- Making it a priority to work with designers, writers, editors, and illustrators from the Global Majority* and historically marginalised communities, and continuing to have open calls for submissions.
- Casting models who represent a spectrum of diverse identities.
- Working with sensitivity readers, who we pay to hold us accountable with every word and image we print.
- Paying our collaborators, including but not limited to, models, designers, writers, editors, photographers, and sample knitters the fairest wage we can.
- Considering the ethical implications of the clothes we feature on models. Ensuring our content is not culturally appropriative.
- Being sensitive to issues of financial accessibility by offering yarn ideas with a range of price points for our patterns, as well as information on yarn substitution.
- Ensuring our content is visually accessible. We recently made changes to our fonts and layouts to improve readability. Promoting size inclusivity and fat acceptance by only publishing garment patterns that have a range of sizes from 30-60” chest circumference, as well as featuring models of varying sizes. Issues 29 onward reflect this commitment to size range. We also are working with past collaborators to meet this range on individual patterns from back issues of the magazine where possible.
- Ensuring language in Pom Pom is gender inclusive. Ensuring language is welcoming to the LGBTQ2IAAP+ community.
- Working toward Pom Pom being as sustainable as possible, including continuing to evaluate our paper sources and packaging materials regularly. (A report on this will be available soon.)
Pom Pom is a diverse team in many ways but, of our ten permanent team members, none of us is Black. We pledge to carry forward our commitment to diversity and equity within our core team by:
- Working with consultants on every issue of the magazine and to examine how we grow our team.
- Posting job openings more widely as they come up. We encourage people of all races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, sexualities, genders, and bodies to apply.
- Actively reaching out to new contributors as well as our wider team of regular freelancers to broaden the range of voices in the magazine and our books.
- Fostering education on anti-racism and equity by regularly providing training and resources for our staff.
- Creating a working environment in which staff from the Global Majority and marginalised groups feel safe.
- Supporting mental health and extended/flexible parental leave at the discretion of the employee. Working with staff members on accommodations for disabilities.
- Being accountable when we make mistakes, including apologizing and taking appropriate action to ensure they are not repeated.
Some of the ways individuals on our team are working to dismantle White supremacy within ourselves and in our community include:
- Regular non-fiction anti-racism reading.
- Commitment to talking about and promoting anti-racism in our personal relationships.
- Participating in protests in support of Black Lives Matter.
- Deliberately seeking out media, art, and products by people of the Global Majority.
- Paying anti-racism educators for their work.
- Paying reparations personally while also advocating that governments do the same.
- Educating ourselves on how to effect change systemically on a local and national level.
- By voting!
We aim to foster a welcoming and equitable community by:
- Ensuring our community is as safe and inclusive as it can be in print, in person, and online, including refusing to participate in events or organisations we do not feel are inclusive.
- Reviewing partners regularly to ensure they share our values and contribute to a safe environment for our readers.
- Making regular donations to causes that align with our values and support the Global Majority and historically marginalised communities.
- Moderating our community on social media to ensure there is no hate speech, as well as monitoring comments that we believe are against our values.
- Ensuring that any events produced by Pom Pom are accessible to people with disabilities, as well as working hard to ensure that our events feel welcoming, inclusive, and safe as possible for people from all communities.
- Recognising that most people’s identities occupy an intersection of factors, and that all of these acronyms and groups are not monoliths but often intersect and affect people differently.
This list is not exhaustive and we will continue to revisit and recalibrate our values on a quarterly basis as we learn and grow. We very much welcome any questions about our practices, or suggestions on how we can make Pom Pom and our community as ethical, safe, inclusive, and joyful as possible.
*Global Majority refers to Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. These groups make up the majority of the world’s population and it follows that they do not need to be identified by their non-Whiteness.