July 3, 2020
Bébé Voyage’s purpose is to empower parents to raise children to be curious, open-minded, and global citizens and to encourage parents to bring up lifelong explorers by exposing them to new cultures and experiences to build a better, more peaceful world for all. As an organization, Bébé Voyage has a lot of work to do to fully carry out this mission.
Over the past few weeks, Bébé Voyage team members have spent time learning about systemic racism and how it affects millions of people around the world. We have also realized that discrimination and racism have a profound effect on how Black people, people of color, and other marginalized groups both in travel and everyday life. We understand there are moments when the white and privileged voices among us should step back, listen, reflect, and understand how we must be a part of the solution to end systemic racism.
As a mostly-white heterosexual team, we know very little about what it is like to travel with fear of facing discrimination or being presented with significant barriers. We realize that we haven’t been exposed enough to the unique and important experiences Black and other marginalized travelers have both in the challenges they face while traveling and the unique perspective they bring to the joy, the excitement, and transformational learning that occurs while traveling. Part of the problem is that we haven’t sought out those stories or diversified the voices that help tell the stories. We will commit to amplifying the voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and other marginalized groups so we can all learn and grow.
Our community and content lacks diversity, and we cannot become an inclusive organization if we continue to publish the same type of content which speaks to and of primarily white privileged audiences. We realize that we have previously missed the opportunity to advocate for a more justice-focused lens to travel. As parents, we have an opportunity to learn alongside our children to develop an anti-racist and inclusive approach to our lives. Through our global travel platform, we strive to honor and celebrate diverse cultures and communities from every part of the world and emphasize that travel can be even more transformational with an intentional approach.
We believe strongly that the Black Lives Matter movement and the calls for upending racist structures will have ripple effects for all oppressed people around the world, including those who have historically been persecuted for their ethnicity, socioeconomic standing, religion, geographical location, or sexual orientation. In addition to centering Black experiences, we commit to an intersectional approach which includes amplifying the narratives of other marginalized groups.
We cannot stand idly by anymore. This is how Bébé Voyage intends to be a part of the solution:
Bébé Voyage Organizational Anti-Racism Strategy
- Administration: As of June 2020, our global team doesn’t represent the diversity of the world in which we live. Out of our 21 volunteers that run the organization, we have 18 white, two A sian, one Latinx, and zero Black admin, support, and editorial team members. We have 18 female-identifying and three male-identifying team members. Twenty team members identify as heterosexual, one as bisexual. Our major challenge in this area is that Bébé Voyage is currently a mostly volunteer operation, which makes it difficult to commit to a specific percentage of BIPOC and other marginalized group team members. We have a goal of increasing diversity within the group, but we want to ensure there’s a true benefit to whomever we ask to join our team. We are sensitive to the fact that asking for free work from BIPOC and other marginalized group admins and content creators merely feeds into racist and unjust structures. We don’t want to do that and want to ensure we’re able to provide opportunities that are truly beneficial to those team members. Here are some strategies that we intend to take in order to diversify the voices within the team:
- Recruit more diverse administrative and editorial team members and travel ambassadors for the membership site. Our goal within the next year is to add Black and other POC representation on the administrative team.
- Current administrative team members will engage in professional and personal development around anti-racism. While we acknowledge that it’s not realistic to require our volunteer team members to commit to specific anti-racism activities, BBV will provide ongoing opportunities for such engagement including: a core group of admin and editorial team members regularly discussing and engaging in concrete steps to integrate antiracism into the organization; purchase of an anti-racism book for all team members; the opportunity to participate in an ongoing reading, reflection, and action group with fellow team members.
- Bébé Voyage is intentionally creating a business model where future contributors and team members are compensated for their work. We will ensure that equity in compensation is the highest priority.
- Editorial: We commit to diversifying the content via all our mediums including social media, blog posts, and member correspondence over the next year. This is how we intend to do that:
- Diversify the content in existing series (Mompreneur, Recipes, Day in the Life, etc.) such that at least 60% of all monthly content will feature the voices of Black people, and of other people in our society who have been marginalized based on their race, religion, or gender.
- The Bébé Voyage blog will feature a monthly Conscious Travel Series which will discuss a multitude of topics around discrimination and concrete steps we can take to combat oppressive systems through an anti-racist lens when we travel.
- We will publish a list of resources (books, online posts, guides, websites, and more) as a reference guide for anti-racist travel, and we will continually update this guide as we learn and read more.
- Bébé Voyage’s editorial style standards will be consistently examined and updated to ensure that we are uplifting marginalized voices by the style choices we make. For example, the BBV blog will always capitalize the B in “Black” acknowledging the shared identity, culture, and history of people from African descent and will not capitalize the word “white” given the connotations of capitalizations used by hate groups and the lack of shared history and culture amongst white communities.
- Community: While we don’t currently have hard data to fully understand our community of traveling families, it’s not difficult to see that the most active members are predominantly white. We want this to change. To be better travelers, we must understand travel from the perspective of a diverse range of community members. While we can’t control who finds us, diversifying our content and partnerships (as seen elsewhere in our commitment) are within our control. What we know we can do is to understand our community better with regard to diversity and to create ways to more intentionally engage marginalized voices in our forums. For that, we commit to the following:
- Expanding our data-gathering effort through the distribution of an annual community and membership survey to understand the demographics of our community. This will help us create more informed outreach benchmarks as an organization.
- Creating a series of surveys to understand what anti-racism resources, materials, and voices our community needs and wants.
- Increasing the representation of Black and other people of color serving as Bébé Voyage ambassadors around the world.
- Providing a discount program for BIPOC and other marginalized members joining our soon-to-be-rolled-out premium membership program that provides all access to detailed ambassador insights, a pen pal network, and a curated and vetted listings section.
- Giving Black and other marginalized voices more space to express themselves in Club Bébé Voyage and on the new membership website.
- Actively recruiting Black and other POC business owners to join our B2B niche brands membership program.
- Business Operations: We will audit our current business and affiliate partners to assess if/how they align with Bébé Voyage’s values and anti-racism and anti-discrimination commitment. We commit to:
- Engaging with our business and affiliate partners to encourage them to adopt an anti-racism approach.
- Terminating relationships with business and affiliate partners that go against our values and commitment and show no interest in positive change.
- Wherever possible, creating business and affiliate partnerships with businesses that are Black or POC-owned and/or have strong anti-racism and social justice values.
- Partnerships: We commit to partnering with other Black and POC-focused travel collectives, content creators, and business partners and to give them a platform within our community through blog articles, social media promotion, and IG live. Additionally, we intend to implement a discount program for BIPOC and other marginalized group-owned companies and organizations with whom we partner.
- Philanthropy: Through partnerships and as Bébé Voyage’s business model allows for philanthropy, we commit to participating in philanthropic efforts that are dedicated to racial justice work globally.
- Bébé Voyage will update Marianne’s Dreaded Conversation Workbook and offer it for sale on our website. All proceeds from the sale of this workbook will go to anti-racist organizations.
- Bébé Voyage will provide a list of recommended anti-racist and social justice organizations to team and community members should any of them wish to make philanthropic donations.
- Bébé Voyage will highlight anti-racist and social justice organizations around the world (particularly in the travel and tourism sector) so that Bébé Voyage community members can engage with them during their travels.
- Advocacy: With our 20,000-member (and counting) community, we have the potential to be a powerful voice in global anti-racism work. We commit to using that power to advocate for racial justice issues.
- Bébé Voyage will provide a list of recommended anti-racist and social justice activism opportunities to team and community members should any of them wish to take part.
- Bébé Voyage will collaborate with other organizations in the family and travel sectors to make travel more accessible and enjoyable for Black and other POC families.
- Bébé Voyage will lend its organizational endorsement to anti-racism and social justice causes and notify our membership of these endorsements as part of our commitment to positive change.
We recognize that this is a starting point and we are learning along with many of our community members. We are excited to hear from our community and other organizations about this commitment. But we hold fast that a commitment must be made.
This work will be carried out not only by our own action but also by listening and reflecting and by supporting and following the lead of BIPOC and other leaders from marginalized groups.
Special thanks to our team members for putting together this statement in particular to Brinda Shah and Elizabeth Doerr for all their hard work.