So the real problem here is that, once this became crystal clear I said to myself, if I don’t change my name immediately, I go from blissfully ignorant to much worse real quick. Sure, I could simply come up with a new logo, delete any references to the cultural appropriation and offensive references, but from my perspective, that’s simply not good enough. In my heart, I want to make full amends.
So for the time being and for future reference: I’m simply using my first and last name as I move forward as a freelancer. At this time, this is a strong symbol and reminder that I – Katie Robleski – am 100% accountable when it comes to being more inclusive and respectful of all people and all cultures. While it won’t be an instant process, I’ve started to take the necessary steps to inform my clients and remove “As The Crow Designs,” along with the feather, from the web and my materials. I hope to carve out some time for a proper brand story, logo, and design that reflects my new chapter. Being a brand strategist and designer with a full client load – I knew how much time that would take, and I wanted this interim phase to happen immediately (I published three days after I read the Kickapoo story once my website was scrubbed and re-domained.)
To close and reiterate my goal today and with absolute clarity: as a brand storyteller and a white person, it’s not just my job, but my responsibility to ensure the business stories of my clients, but most importantly myself, are at the very least doing absolutely zero harm to Black, Indigenous, or people of color. That change starts with me.
Perhaps it goes without saying, perhaps I’m going overboard, but if I feel the tug to apologize, that’s what I’m going to do. To individuals who are part of any community who stumbled onto my website or actually worked with me and felt at the least awkward and uncomfortable, or on some level white-washed, offended, or worse, I am sincerely sorry for any discomfort or harm I caused you. I can do better and I will do better. That is my pledge.
Revealing this story of mine today is my personal way of identifying and unpacking any behaviors of mine – no matter where they fall on the grand spectrum – in order to do my part to dismantle white supremacy. Perhaps by doing so, just like the Kickapoo owners’ apology made ME come to terms with my actions, perhaps it will encourage someone else reading my story to do the same. I open this to any and all comments, public or private (email me at [email protected]). I’ve tried my best to be as clear and direct as possible, but in these early stages of learning, it’s very possible I’ve stumbled somewhere up there. If I’m informed of these mistakes (or as I come to realize them myself) I’ll continue to return to this statement and adjust and edit as necessary with references to why, so it’s clear.
Thanks for reading. Truth be told, it’s really sad to say goodbye to my business name. She served me well…for nearly four years to the day I started out on my own: Independence Day, funny enough. My heart was indeed in the right place back then. But this will be nice clean break to start something new and on the right foot.
If you made it all the way to this sentence (whew!), I honestly do hope this story resonated with you. If it did, in any way, both negatively or positively, I urge you to follow that call and learn more about why. If you’d like to chat more about it, my door is ALWAYS open.
*I have compensated all intellectual labor contributors to this post for their efforts.