A letter from Miranda:
As white people, sometimes it can be hard to see our privilege and to see how something we do, say, or uphold contributes to the culture of racism we have in the US. That’s why it’s so important to educate ourselves and listen to people of color.
Changing the name of this business has everything to do with accountability and my continuing anti-racism efforts. I began really investing ourselves in anti-racism efforts these past few years (like I think many other white people have) which led me to question the realities behind using the name Mokolo. For those who may not know, Mokolo is the name of a market in Cameroon that I frequented when I was in Cameroon. As I continued learning from people and organizations like No White Saviors, Rachel Cargle, Wear Your Voices and so many others I was critically analyzing the ways I uphold white supremacy. I came to realize that by using the term Mokolo in the name of this business that it might be a form of cultural appropriation. So after I couldn’t find the answers to my questions on Google, I hired the No White Saviors team for a consultation on cultural appropriation and my business (you should ALWAYS pay POC for their physical and emotional labor when it comes to talking about racism and the likes). They helped me fully understand how I was capitalizing on a culture that was not my own, how I was pretty much stealing this name while not giving anything back directly to the people working at Mokolo Market. No matter my intent for using the name it was cultural appropriation. So that leads us to today, something that has been months in the making since that consultation.
We’ve stopped using the name Mokolo and are now And Arlen (it was created from bits and pieces of my own name). As a business we recognize (but can only barely begin to understand) the harm that using the name Mokolo has caused. One way to begin to repay for this harm done is through reparations. Over the next year, we’ll be increasing our donation to Leap Girl Africa to 25%. We want to do this sustainably so that we can continue these donations for as long as we stay in business. This increase will only begin to scratch the surface of reparations we owe, but it’s a start.
Supporting my community and especially the black community has never been a trend and will never be a trend for me, it’s something that from day one I’ve ingrained into this business and will continue to do. I want you to know more about how we support our community so that you too can join in. Over the next few months, I’ll be writing more in-depth about the organizations we’ve been supporting, but I also want to add to our list. You can read through this page to see who we already support then let us know in the comments below what other organizations you would like to see on our list.