Pride Statement from the CEO

Why and How we are honoring PRIDE
From the CEO of Furls Fiberarts, Lorene Eppolite 

As you may know, June is PRIDE month. This can mean many things to different people and organizations. I wanted to take a moment to share with you what PRIDE means, both to me personally and as the CEO of Furls Fiberarts; Along with how we as a company are observing and celebrating PRIDE this month and throughout the entire year.

Although what we now call PRIDE started as a riot, in recent years it has been an occasion to celebrate the progress that has been made for and alongside the LGBTQ community as well as to reflect on the work that still needs to be done.

History
The Stonewall Inn was a private ‘bottle bar’ that celebrated and supported lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folx. This establishment was raided by the New York City Police Department in the early hours of June 28, 1969. Rather than run, the patrons of this bar, led by a group of Black and Brown trans women, decided to stay and fight for their rights. This began a 5-day standoff against violence and discrimination that began what we now know as PRIDE.

Celebration
One year later the first PRIDE parade took place on the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Pride IS a celebration, but it is also a form of protest against the travesties that queer folx still face. As a company, Furls’ supports the continued fight for equal rights and anti-discrimination. We honor the strength of those who fought for their rights and continue the good work.

Reflection
This battle is not won. There is still much to be done to better the lives of all our citizens. This starts with each of us individually; It continues with businesses and organizations doing their part with the platforms they have been given. 

How Furls Took a Stand
Furls Fiberarts has two missions; To create the best in luxury and ergonomic fiber art tools and to do so in a responsible and ethical way. Furls does this, in part, by supporting The Trevor Project. 

When we first launched the original Pride hook we did so after many conversations with our employees and collaborators where we discussed how underrepresented the queer community was in the maker space.Designing the Pride Hook started as a way for the LGBTQ community and their allies to show their support and, well, pride in themselves and each other. We wanted to leave zero doubt that we stood alongside the community as a whole and with the queer makers who support Furls Crochet.

Furls Ethos
Equal pay and benefits regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation.
No tolerance anti-discrimination policy.
Supporting diversity and inclusion.
Continuing to educate ourselves and our employees on the complex issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community today.
Financially supporting The Trevor Project.

How Furls Took Action in 2021
Real change can start with a single action (or hook) but the continued work doesn’t end there. With your support over the last twelve months, Furls has made a donation of over $16K to The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ young people. This year, we are matching donations up to $20K. You can donate here.

How Furls is Taking Action throughout 2022
This year our goal is to double our efforts and thereby our donation to The Trevor Project by at least 50%. Furls is hosting a fundraiser for Trevor in which Furls will match all contributions up to $20k. We are also encouraging each of our employees to either donate financially or to donate their time. For each hour they donate to their local LGBTQ organization, we will pay them their hourly rate and donate that same amount to the same organization. 

We will do whatever it takes to allow everyone to live their authentic lives, free from harm.

Why We Are Supporting The Trevor Project
Did you know that one of the highest suicide rates is among the queer youth of this country? The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (13-24) seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. — and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds. (source: Facts about LGBTQ Youth Suicide- The Trevor Project). For more details on suicidality of LGBTQ youth please see The Trevor Project's 2022 Survey.

When we first set out to support an organization we did some research on which one best aligned with our goals. We were impressed by their strategic plan that focuses on 5 key programs; crisis services, peer support, research, public education and advocacy. 

They have been doing this work for two decades and we want to see them continue this path forward. With your help, we can do just that.

To all of our loved ones; makers, friends and family: Not only do we see you and love you but we aim to celebrate you and to help you to exist in this world with love, dignity and compassion both today and every day.

If you are a person questioning their gender or sexual identity or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community who needs assistance we encourage you to reach out to The Trevor Project for support and resources. Counselors can be reached at ANY time by email, phone or chat.

If you would like to support this cause please consider donating to our Trevors Project fundraiser. Furls Fiberarts will match all donations up to 20k from now until June 1, 2023 when we will begin our 2023 PRIDE initiative.

In closing, I leave you with this:
"We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity."--George Takei


With Sincerest Gratitude and Love,
Lorene Eppolite
She/Her
CEO Furls Fiberarts