Happy Women's Equality Day! As a company founded and run by women, we take every opportunity to celebrate our wins and collaborate with other powerful female leaders. When COVID-19 hit, we teamed up with our lady friends at Gravitas to make beautiful 100% cotton face masks.
This partnership has been an inspiring example of what women can do when we work together, and this is the perfect day to reflect on all we have accomplished. It is also an important moment to ignite change and action because there is still so much work to be done. Our right to vote came from generations of women who sacrificed everything to give us a voice, and it's time we use it.
We sat down with our female founders (Jane Park of Tokki, and Lisa Sun of Gravitas) and gave them a moment to reflect on what the right to vote means to them.
What does voting mean to you?
Lisa explained that her vote was her chance to be heard, “We have built our system around this idea of proper representation and the ability to choose leaders whose actions reflect your values. My vote has a personal touch because my mom, an immigrant, worked so hard for her American citizenship that her vote was seen as an accomplishment instead of an obligation."
When asked the same question Jane said, “I became a citizen 16 years ago so I could vote. For me, my vote gives me the ability to participate, I love the saying ‘democracy is not a spectator sport.’ The truth is, we cannot say we truly have a democracy until everyone is voting.”
The women both adamantly agreed that they feel an obligation to use their vote now more than ever. Jane added, “Election day is our Veterans Day, there are people who literally sacrificed their lives so that we could do this, how dare we feel inconvenienced to go exercise this privilege.” Voting is the way we honor the powerful women in our history and, in turn, honor their fight for suffrage.
What does the VOTE face mask collection represent?
In honor of the centennial anniversary of women's suffrage, Lisa and Jane collaborated to create the VOTE Collection. Each mask is designed with beautiful sketches of women who dared to have an impact and honors their courage and dedication. These visionaries recognized voting as the essential connective tissue that binds us together into a bigger, better, collective “us.”
The first mask, named "FIGHT", displays women from politics, more specifically suffragettes, and honors their fight for gender equality. The second mask, named "LEAD", honors African American women from our history, recognizing their struggle for gender and racial equality.
What inspired you to create this collection?
Lisa said, “Gravitas is all about self-confidence, equality, and representation. All of these aspects are encompassed in the idea of a women’s right to vote, so it makes sense for women to come together and celebrate this milestone. A lot of the women on the mask really struggled to have this right to vote, when you wear these pieces, not only are you fulfilling your humane duty to care for others, you are honoring the fight these women dedicated their lives to.”
Jane added, “As we moved through the conversation of racial reckoning, our understanding of suffrage changed. I love the idea of celebrating this moment while also saying that the work at the time was incomplete. It is great to recognize all the women that fought to make it happen, and how incomplete it was when it did happen.”
Who do these masks support?
While we celebrate the battle these women fought, we must still recognize the fight ahead of us. By donating 10% of profits to the National Black Women's Justice Institute (NBWJI), an organization chosen by Jane and Lisa themselves, they are recognizing that there is still progress to be made.
NBWJI works to reduce racial and gender disparities across the justice continuum affecting Black women, girls, and their families. They do this by conducting research, providing technical assistance, engaging in public education, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for informed and effective policies.
“My favorite thing about this mask is the charitable component, it shows that there is still work to be done,” Jane noted. At the core of this collection is honoring the past, while helping fight for the future.
What is your biggest takeaway from creating this collection?
Jane responded to this by saying, “follow the example of the powerful women from our history, lean in, do what you can.”
Lisa added, “Express gratitude for the incredible women who got us here and respect the struggle by taking action yourself. Furthermore, this collection was designed during the current nation-wide pandemic, which goes to show that even during hardship you can lean into your creativity and create something both beneficial and beautiful.”
The collection is an example of our past, our present, and our future. It honors these powerful women from our history and shows how we were able to create something beautiful during such an unprecedented time, while also giving back to create a better future. We shape history when we vote, so register today at https://vote.gov/.
Want to hear more from our founders? Tune in to this week's #tokkitalk where Jane and Lisa sat down to chat about what their vote means to them. Check it out here.