You may have noticed that Campfire Cycling has stopped almost all of our content and messaging since the murder of Mr. George Floyd and the global civil rights movement that has followed. As a white, male-owner of a small business with an environmentalist mission, this period of time has made me think deeply about my privilege and my connection to systems of oppression.
To comprehend the moment, I read up on aspects of American history that I hadn’t previously focused on, learning about the evolution of racism and anti-racism in America. What I learned about the histories of redlining and the rise of the prison industrial complex were gut wrenching examples of how deeply entrenched racism has been and still is in American life. Examining history with this growing awareness led me to begin much more clearly seeing the ongoing patterns of racism throughout our nation and the world.
I share this journey as an introduction to changes we are working on here at Campfire Cycling.
Before this summer, I was operating within a mindset that I could have my best humanitarian impact through the environmentalism inherent in my work as a bicycle supplier and cycling advocate.
This mindset that “I was doing my part” was challenged as I grew my understanding of how racism was embedded in American culture. I felt like I could finally see through the “matrix” as I connected the dots between the covert nature of systemic racism and the underlying force of white privilege that has led to racial injustice for four centuries. I could see how white America has collectively developed and maintained a blindness to systemic racism as a foundational part of maintaining white privilege.
I had been living in a comfortable blindness to systemic racism, and because of that was not comprehending the extent of my own white privilege and through it, the space that I was occupying. Awakening to this lack of awareness, I realized that I had to reconcile my way of thinking.
In my 20 years in the cycling industry, I considered bicycle advocacy and environmentalism “my lane”. But now with a fresh perspective, I have considered how bicycle advocacy can have a deeper and more meaningful impact when approached from a combined social justice and environmentalist perspective.
I have been contemplating ways to update Campfire Cycling’s mission to overcome our lack of attention to social justice. There are so many great social justice organizations whose mission supports this work and our most impactful and logical path will be financial contributions to support them. We also are learning how we can be more deeply engaged, considering the overall landscape of social justice and which aspects intersect with what we are practicing.
Having recently transitioned into a business focused on both ecommerce and operating as a Tucson bike shop, we were starting to build with our community before the pandemic. Our theory was that our bike shop community would help to create the momentum, awareness and content to energize our ecommerce brand.
Considering things with fresh eyes, it became obvious that we had the priorities reversed. Because of this, we are updating the mission of Campfire Cycling by focusing on serving Tucson. And to truly serve Tucson we are learning how we can better serve all Tucson communities.
If you’re an online customer outside of Tucson, don’t worry, we will continue to maintain our great ecommerce catalog and service. While making sure we are a great part of Tucson is now our priority, this mission will also make us better at being a great online bicycle touring outfitter.
A Plan To Serve Tucson
At the moment we are admittedly a small team that is new to engaging with the Tucson community. Having experienced some growth, we feel now is a great time to commit to laying the foundations for serving Tucson communities.
The summer and early fall has been a period of reflection and planning for us. Here’s what we have been up to, and an outline of our future goals:
- Campfire has committed to the WTF Bike Explorer’s Cycling Industry Pledge
- We have engaged a Tucson-based DEI consultant
- We have updated our Mission and Values with DEI principles
- We are updating our business processes to include
- Hiring with DEI principles
- Create a welcoming, inclusive space for employees and customers
- We have drafted the plans below for growing our community engagement
March 31st 2021:
- Research where and how we can make the most impact in our community
- Look for opportunities to participate and engage
- Begin community partnerships & commit to contributions
July 31st 2021:
- Relocate to a more retail friendly, community-oriented space
- Get settled & welcome Tucson to the new space
Nov 31st 2021:
- Develop our community board
- Listen to our community board for community engagement recommendations and make a plan
March 30th 2022:
- Launch a community-oriented project
- Establish a plan for ongoing community engagement
Holding Us Accountable
By putting together this statement and laying out our plans, we are being mindful about committing to a plan that we can reasonably pursue within the scope of our organization. This plan alone is not helpful. In fact without meaningful progress, putting these goals into the world is damaging. We understand that actionable progress forward is what matters and we hope that we are setting ourselves up to produce results.
We welcome you to hold us accountable to making progress. We will only be publishing updates when we have made some demonstrable progress. If there are better ways for us to pursue our mission to serve all Tucson communities, we welcome your input and feedback.