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Op Ed

Sometimes things are simply gross.

Ebony Love is one of the people I admire, and look to in the Quilting World as a leader.

I’ll come back to Ebony in a moment so hang with me friends. If you’ve taken a class with me, been a customer, or generally know me I am incredibly patient with people. There are times when I lose my stuff, and it’s usually not good when that happens. And has landed on one of those sites where people review businesses. Yep. When my patience is at the end of the tether there is no intention towards a lack of charity, or not being kind, sometimes I reach the end.

A few years back while working on Generation Q Magazine we had a No Quilt Bullies campaign, complete with button, social media posts, and conversations. People can sometimes be cruel. There are times in my life where I’ve been a follower, this is in and of itself not a bad thing, however this led me toward making a couple of bad decisions: like posting on a fabric designers page that I would *never* purchase her fabric, or essentially ending my relationship with a company that I’d wanted to work with for a long time because I wasn’t enamored of how they were doing something. While that wasn’t my call, deep down I knew better, and yet allowed myself to say my thing. I’m still embarrassed about both of these things I assure you.

These last few weeks have been painful to say the least. The last straw flung on top of my very deep well of patience and tapped me out. It’s gone. Done.

As mentioned Ebony is a quilt industry leader. I admire not only her work as a quilter, quilt maker, and pattern designer, but her ideas, her advice is spot on from her working knowledge business, and contracts. In other words, this woman knows her stuff. If she gives you advice, pick up that gold nugget, say thank you, and go do the thing. And here is where I have lost my mind. Sam Hunter posted here, then Ebony posted here about a “tone checking” experience. and why she decided to leave the Craft Industry Alliance.

After Sam’s post I reached out to Abby Glassenberg the founder and president of Craft Industry Alliance and said in very clear, unemotional terms that Ebony deserved an immediate, unqualified apology.

I write. I can write fluffy stuff, I can write snark. What I write, I write with great passion, and often more vulnerability than I care to admit. I am admitting here and now I am really angry. Not only was the tone check unnecessary, it was unkind, uncharitable, and without cause. When I read, and I do read and watch, listening and thinking deeply before responding. I know that words do have power, and I also know that when we read words we read from the place where we are standing, with whatever is going on in our mind, and heart and being, in other words, we read into what people write. And in some regard we need to do that, we are people with deep emotions, thoughts, and experiences.

Here, though, is where we have a problem. The President and Founder of the Craft Industry Alliance has a track record of targeting individuals expressing disdain, displeasure over some thing they are doing that they must change immediately because it is so, so wrong and must be brought to the daylight for immediate correction. I can assure you Ebony did not need correction. At. All. I would go to Ebony first, because sound advice and she quilts. The President and Founder of the Craft Industry Alliance, is by clear definition, a bully, pushing, and pushing, and pushing until some either stop doing business with that person, effectively giving it to her, or they leave the quilting world altogether, or might not get the work they are so qualified for because, well, bullying. This track record includes editing posts given comments on said post. I know other people who have screenshots, I don’t. I wish I did though. I have, over the last few years, written posts here because of things Abby has written, offering another view of something happening in our quilting world.

As a quilter who tries to bring everyone on board, I object. As a woman I object. As a human being I object. As a blogger, author, human being who is sometimes pretty okay, I object. I object to Ebony, a Black woman, having to even make a statement like this as a direct result of the amount of melanin in her skin. I object. And so I’m doing the best thing I know how. I’m writing because I’m fatigued of the bullying. If I’m fatigued I can only imagine how Ebony feels. Latifah, Jemelia, Gyleen, Carol, Chawne, Renee (of Renee said Elizabeth said fame). All of these women who contribute to the depth and beauty of quilt making. Each one of these women bring their skills generously, and have so much to offer and teach. Dammit, here goes the tears.

Our Black and Brown bothers and sisters need to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings. Our Black and Brown quilters need to be appreciated for who they are, what they bring to the quilting world not for what they can give us, but for WHO THEY ARE.

Teri

23 thoughts on “Op Ed”

  1. Spot on Teri. To paraphrase Ebony, did I really hear/see that? All to often the bullies are digs that many don’t know/catch/acknowledge as really being digs/put downs/insults. And I am being nice. There is no room for bullying from anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said Teri! Bullies are insecure people whose fears of being exposed as not that good causes them to lash out and try to destroy another. They don’t anticipate courageous people like you coming forward to put things in perspective.

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  3. You are so spot on, Teri! There is no room for that petty “tone checking” and bullying…please keep up what you are doing and call them as you see them!

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  4. I agree 100% with what you’ve written. I made a decision not to join the Craft Alliance years ago because I didn’t like some of the posts. Teri, your heart is as big as all outdoors! Your post will make waves, and I hope a tsunami!

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  5. I feel like you hit the nail on the head. I don’t know the players here, but the thought is universal. Bullying is never OK. Thanks for using your platform to express that thought!

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  6. I think…. often… that FB, Twitter, TikTok to name a few, has taken communication from bad to worse… Not that email messages can’t be misconstrued, but it is the short and often less wordy communications that cause communication difficulties. The English language has one of the largest vocabularies and we underuse it too often!!! An the other difficulty is that we read in the skip-word fashion on these apps, that can change the tone of a message quickly. I am often terse when using these apps on the phone because I hate that little keyboard, but when on the computer… more apt to write a long message with qualifiers to soften the tone.

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  7. As quilters, we enjoy working with every shade, hue and tone of every color…why should the shade, hue or tone of our skin make any difference in our value, as a quilter or a person? Bullies, deep down, are insecure and afraid of everyone else finding out they aren’t as great as they want everyone to think they are. Operating out of a place of fear is not a good place to be and that ugliness is apparently obvious now. The true measure of a man (or woman) is when they choose to do what is right, even when they know it will cost them financially/personally.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Teri, thank you so much for writing this. Ebony was treated like crap by Abby and there is no other way to put it. Abby is now trying to play the victim which is just galling to me. She is no friend to the Quilting Industry or the wonderful artists within this industry such as Ebony. The only thing we can do to get the message to her that her actions are unacceptable is leave CIA taking our membership fee with us. She is a business plain and simple and I have chosen to take my money after 4+ years and leave.

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