Hello stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.
Hello everybody and welcome! You are listening to the Stitch Please podcast.
And I am delighted to bring to your attention... Lydia Diaz! Yay!
She is also known as Clever Girls Craft on Instagram. She does fantastic work.
She is a YouTuber, she's got a shop on Etsy.
She is... a bit of a badass.
I don't know if she likes to get asked,
[ Laughter ]
you know, she is a very active practicing Christian. You can tell this from her posts.
I don't know if she likes cursing or not, we just met. We're fine.
I'm fine with it! Listen, I'm fine with that.
I've got to say she's a badass. And I am so glad to have her here with us today.
Thank you so much, Lydia! Welcome!
Thank you for having me. I'm sorry, it took so long.
It took the time it needed to take.
And I am very glad to be here.
So I wanted to talk a bit about how did you get started?
And what made you take the leap from being a crafter who was just doing things in her own home for her own edification
to turn to making things like stickers and stamps and things like that,
like, what was the thing that got you going?
Okay, so when I really started crafting, to put it out into the world, if you will,
I was not a crafter prior to that. It was like...
Crafting for me started as a means of self care, as a means of processing trauma.
It was workplace trauma.
Of course, there's you know, childhood trauma and everything else that
Unknown Speaker 2:27
[ Laughter ]
We deal with being like women... Also, you know, the world trauma.
But for me, it was coming out of a work experience that was very mentally dangerous.
And leaving a company that I felt really drained my energy,
drained, my self worth, really put me down into a pit. Okay.
And so then, I started doing water color paints, stamps. So just, you know, painting the backgrounds.
Really simply, I'm not a great painter by any stretch of the imagination.
But then I love seeing how people would stamp on top of a dry background...
and then use embossing powders, and the heat gun to raise the lettering or raise the stamp.
And I was like, 'Oh, that's so cool! I've never seen that before!'
Thanks, Instagram, you know, I saw that on it.
I was like, "Oh, that's so cool-- I want to try that."
Unknown Speaker 3:26
[ Laughter ]
So I've got the little heat gun, I got the stamps, the embossing powder.
And I was like, "This is so cool!" You know, how you can make your statement,
the sentiment stands up off of the paper... off of the background...
And it's glossy, and it's sealed, it's not coming off, It's not washing off.
The background is going to fade. When you're dealing with like paints like that, the background is going to fade,
but the wording, the sentiment, is going to stay.
And so for me, like, I needed that for me. It sounds weird, but like I needed that permanence. You know what I mean?
Yes, it does not sound weird, Lydia.
[ Laughter ]
It sounds like an evolution.
Oh, wow, okay!
Unknown Speaker 4:06
[ Laughter ]
That's what it sounds to me. And the reason I say that is because...
If we were to look closely at the process you're describing,
you have this watercolor background that might be beautiful and a gorgeous context.
But what you also have when you put the stamp down and then the embossing powder, and then you put some heat on it...
I really like how the embossing is also textured,
So that you can feel it, right? And feel it.
And there's something about basically standing out
in a background in a way that is permanent!
Oh my gosh. Yes.
Right? It's... It's something that is so powerful and necessary for Black women. And, so, like,
This idea when you said to me that your work environment was mentally dangerous.
And your solution to that was took create for yourself a therapeutic process of art and of making and creating, that also relied on a stamp on a background.
It's like you're birthing yourself. It's like you are creating the life you want to live. And that's...
You did. And that is why I think it's evolutionary.
That really well, like, I really haven't processed it, you know, verbally with another crafter, to be honest, who understands.
Wow, like, I'm now like, absorbing that. [ Laughter ]
And it feels... it's so true. Like, I felt so lost in the sea of that company, washed away and, like, to be honest, like there was a lot of...
'take, take' and not a lot of recognition or give back or 'you're doing well', you know what I mean? And...
So it was a lot of outpouring, I feel as Black women, we pour ourselves out a lot, either into our community, our families, our work, our education, our children...
You know, on the list goes, because we feel like, that's what we were raised to do.
You know, we see our matriarchs constantly pouring themselves out, you know, even the ones that are flawed, were constantly pouring themselves out in some area.
Holding nothing back for themselves, you know, constantly empty, that's me. Also, I was raised by, you know, women.
My mom, for all intents and purposes, was a single mom, even though I had a stepdad in the picture, she was still a single mom, because she had to hold it down when he was acting the fool.
And you know, you see that. And... So we do that in the workplace. Don't we?
We do that in the workplace. We do that in education, we do that with our families.
We are... bone dry at the end of the day, empty. And that's how I felt with the painting.
It was like one day, this watercolor background is going to fade out.
Like that's just the that's just the nature of watercolor in light. Okay. It's going to fade.
Yes it is.
That's me, like I am... I felt like I was fading away.
Yet, there are statements that I want about me to last. You know?
And so... You're right, like, as I'm absorbing that processing, that's what it was.
And so then, like, I started out using stamps that were created by companies and all that,
but I had really gotten into or, I should say, really started appreciating the Bible journaling movement that was happening at that time.
Like it was just like, coming on the scene and where people were Bible journaling, I was like, 'Oh, that's so cool.'
You know, I'm not as artistic as those folks, but man, I can appreciate it. And I was seeing the stamps and all that jazz.
for me, I am not...
Unknown Speaker 7:49
[ Laughter ]
I am more of a tomboy. I'm not sure if that's an okay term to say anymore.
I'm more... I'm not a girly girl. Okay, I'm not a girly girl. I'm not into flowers, I'm not into flourishes and and all that.
I... I like a bold statement. I like clean lines. And so I started to make my own stamps, like you can design them and then upload them to, like, sites, and they'll...
They'll make the the clear stamps for you and mail them to you. So...
I did that. I was like these stamps like with these Bible verses. They're not really hitting for me. Like I...
I'm more of, like, a bold print. You know, clean-- Like I said, clean lines?
Skip the flowers.
Like... I just want the word.
And there's probably some Bible verses about liberation that's not in there.
For sure! Oh, for sure. For sure, for sure, for sure.
Unknown Speaker 8:42
[ Laughter ]
Absolutely. Like, we got to move beyond Proverbs 31, okay?
So that was where I was. And so that's when I started to design my own stamps that way.
Not to sell, but just to create my cards, my work. And then from there, you know,
I started collecting the... the craft stuff! Once you start down that road, it's...
[ Laughter ]
Tell it-- Let me tell you something...
Lydia. I was trying to do, you know, some background research so I can come up with some decent questions and not embarrass myself.
And I tried to go to your Pinterest. And I...
When I got to Pinterest, they said 'You must have an account to log in.' And I was like, Oh, no, ma'am. Oh, no. I will not.
Pinterest is a cult. I stand by it. I have been involved in the cult.
I was involved in the cult for many years.
Unknown Speaker 9:36
[ Laughter ]
I learned a lot of recipes, including a cinnamon bun pancake.
Oh, wow. Dangerous.
That... my children and everybody loved. I made that thing-- I wore that recipe into the ground.
Unknown Speaker 9:51
[ Laughter ]
But now you mentioned the word Pinterest to me, and I'm like it be behind me.
I want nothing. I couldn't even look! I just I was like, 'I'm just gonna go back to Instagram, and look at her picture there.'
Because you know...! So, like, you can go to Pinterest, and it's like,
I want to cook that, I want to buy that, I want to wear that, I want to make that, I was like...
No, I don't, I have plenty of ideas on my own. And so I'm just gonna look...
Pinterest-- I... I don't have enough self control for Pinterest.
I have a Pinterest account. And I cannot tell you the last time I logged into it.
My friends like, 'Oh, Pinterest is great to promote yourself and do it.'
I'm like, first of all, I don't have the mental energy for that right now.
And second of all, if I go on there, I'm going to get, like,
sucked into the whirlpool of everybody's thoughts and ideas. I just can't do it. So...
If you had gotten onto my Pinterest, it'd been hecka outdated...
Stuff from probably two years ago...
Unknown Speaker 10:49
[ Laughter ]
Yeah, you wouldn't have found much. So yeah, Instagram is where I live.
YouTube is also a lot as well, I have stuff on there. But yeah, I don't play around on Pinterest. It's too dangerous.
I mean, it's very dangerous!
And what-- I just want to kind of go back and say another wonderful thing about you
is that the embossing, again, I keep returning and loving it.
But you are the embossing. And you are the person who is making these beautiful, permanent statements.
I love when you look through your Instagram, you can see your craft projects.
But I also absolutely love the statements that you make, on the way that either...
Either you are educating your fellow Christians about how they should be more liberatory minded, more loving and more inclusive.
Or you are getting people to think about legislative issues in your community and in your state.
You are saying the names of Black folks who have become ancestors before they even had a chance to become to adults.
You are... You are saying these things.
And you are helping people to access information that perhaps
they would not have found otherwise, or they would not have deliberately sought out.
And so that leads me to a question that I know that I get a lot. And it's about the combination of...
What s-- what some might believe are disparate things.
Like, okay, there's crafting, there's resin crafts, but there's the Bible verses and Bible journaling.
There's the political and social engagement.
'Why are all these things together when they should be separate?'
But you've done such a beautiful job of having this work so well, organically, as well as aesthetically.
Can you talk a little bit about why that's important to you?
Or what prompted you to start if a prompt was necessary to start...
pursuing your craft in a way that is connected to important issues?
Yeah, so... I feel like the prompt, if you will,
other than just being Black in America is...
Really, last year with everything that we saw with Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Briana Taylor... happening in such a compounded way.
And the uprising in our community as well as with active allies who were like 'enough is enough.' It was just...
We're always aware of it. We're always aware of these things. You know, we don't live in a bubble.
We understand that these things are happening. It's a part of our lives.
But when I saw how...
Few companies, and few crafters, and few, whatever, were talking about it, it hit my heart.
And then, there was this pivotal moment for me where...
Last year, a craft company whose name... I shall not say...
You can go look on my Instagram and find who I'm talking about.
It's like, look it up yourselves, people! I'm not gonna give them any more credit than they
deserve, none of it! I'm not putting their name in my mouth.
They do not deserve to have their name uttered by me in a recording!
How about that!
Um, you can go check out Clever Girl Craftings on Instagram and you can see what I'm talking about.
I'mma plug me, not them!
Me? Not. Exactly, exactly. Cuz guess those links gonna be at the end of this episode. So, okay, that's the links.
So in this episode, you can find the YouTube channel, you can go to the IG,
you can go to Etsy, back to what we're talking about today.
So some raggedy people did something raggedy to you,
Unknown Speaker 14:36
[ Laughter ]
Tell me what they did, I wasn't watching. Tell them what they did-- what'd they do to you?
This raggedy community page, or this raggedy, raggedy company, actually,
they posted their design team for the 2021 year, whatever was coming up, whatever it was.
And... it was 13 white presenting women.
And I-- And it was after everything that we had been through, you know, late summer, summer...
Did they put up a black square?
Unknown Speaker 15:02
[ Laughter ]
Did they put up a black square? Can I ask that...?
I don't remember if they didn't.
If they have a black square where they really--
They had a black square because they-- they felt bad for the Blacks?! And so they put a black square?
Listen, whatever they [did, they] didn't do enough, because I saw that...
And, and it was another black crafter, a friend of mine, who actually said,
'Have you seen this?' And I said, 'Let me go check it out,' doot, doot, 'What is this?!' I said 'What?!'
It just... It's like that activation moment. I don't know if you're into comics at all.
But you know, like, when someone is born with, like, mutant DNA, you know, I'm saying
And, like, they go all through their lives. They never have any kind of, you know, experience.
And then something happens that like, triggers the DNA. And suddenly,
They're shooting sparks out of their hands, suddenly they've got...
Yes, yes, yes.
It's like that third full moon on the, on the, you know, that's on the equinox.
[ Laughter ]
...Once every fifteen years!
it was that because suddenly it went from 'Man, I'm observing all this, I hate all this.'
to 'I'm a part of this, because I'm part of the Black community.'
But it was like, how... dare... they!
And then I made a video. And that began the... the outspoken, and the choice to then
use my crafting account to then speak about these issues.
Because like we were saying earlier, this is us, you know, we are crafters, we're Black women,
We are, you know, people in our communities that that have experienced these things or witnessed these things.
We are the ones who these things are targeted at. So why shouldn't we use our platforms?
And a brief segue, if you will, on that, I don't know who started the rule that you know,
Your social media account, whatever, has to be really targeted on one thing, you know, 'Find your niche,' and all this kind of stuff.
Listen, my niche is creating beauty.
And sometimes beauty is calling out the BS.
Beauty and kindness... and all this is confronting white supremacy or the white supremacy delusion. And saying 'this is unacceptable.'
You know, sometimes there's beauty in confronting the ugly.
And so I don't know who started that whole thing about, you know,
You have to have a niche in order to be, you know, successful on Instagram and all that kind of stuff.
I don't care about being successful on Instagram, what I care about is the liberation, the dignity, the the empowerment,
the success and thriving and flourishing of my community and my people and others who are lifted up, who are who don't belong to the Black community,
but others who are BIPOC or trans, LGBTQ, who are lifted up by by Black people lifting up, you know what I'm saying?
Yes, and I do. It's like, a rising tide lifts all boats. And it's the way that it's that marginalization has worked in this country.
It's that Black people occupy a particular role of oppression. And that p-- Not unique, not that nobody else is oppressed,
but particularly Black oppression has been used to drive the engine of the United States.
Right. And that's why, you know, in 1619, Black folks are denied citizenship,
Black folks are denied the rights to carry guns, the right to look white people in the eyes, like often these things that come up.
And so there's a theory in organizing that: If you focus liberation efforts on the most marginalized,
and you create an equitable system that works for the most marginalized,
then by default, by a chain reaction, the system will work for everyone.
Everybody, everybody. So instead of... Sometimes we have this rights discourse,
where I think white people feel like they're gonna lose something, right?
They think of rights as, like, a pie. And if you get rights, and I get rights,
and then we get the, you know, Black trans women get rights. And these people get rights, then it's less rights for us.
And it's like, that's not how it works, you know?
That's not how rights works.
And so that's, I don't know, so that's exactly how I feel about it. My...
My account then became, you know, a place for me to, once again, process trauma
and hopefully uplift others in the process of acknowledging, it speaking on it, calling it out.
Especially in... maybe not especially in, but also in being a Christian.
I felt that there, and I still feel, okay,
I still feel that there is a... a powerful silence that comes from the American Church, you know.
I cannot speak for any other country or... anything like that, I'm talking about the American Church is very silent...
or white American Church is very silent on... the injustices that we see every single day.
And if they're not silent, they are co-signing it vocally. And so for me, that was,
I said, 'This is not what I'm seeing in Scripture. This is not what I'm studying as I open my Bible,'
'I'm going to speak up, whatever my voice is worth to somebody who's reading this, who's losing their faith,'
'who's losing faith in saying, "Man, where's this Church that's supposed to be loving and caring, and being the hands and feet of Jesus?"
I'm going to say it, Okay.' And so that's then also tied into all of that.
Yes, and I think you were speaking earlier about the the violence of your former workplace, and how so much was extracted from you. And, and, and I, that resonated with me. And I think that's gonna resonate with a lot of black women who are listening. But one thing that one of my friends has taught me and I keep practicing it, is that we belong to ourselves first. And that is, I and I think that I'm not, I'm not saying I struggle with that I'm gonna say I'm practicing with, because I also grew up in a family of women, or in a family where my mother is still to this day, I will not say how old she is, but that's not your business. But she's the mama of a 51 year old about that. And, and she is, she's still out, you know, serving, she's still, you know, that's just her nature, she is a community SBH. And I'
m sure she will not talk on that. But she is that that's where I learned about actually some of the principles of anarchy, actually, she would not believe this. But like anarchy is not chaos . Anarchy is a system of government that is non vertical is completely horizontal and lateral, and everybody takes care of right. Other right. And so we have found a way to make criminal, right, as we prefer a democracy that says that's what it is. But it's nothing about democracy is and I don't have to say any more about that. But the thing is that this is the beauty for me is to seeing her to see her be so engaged with her sorority communit
y, the church community, she's even still connected with kids, she went to X ray with, right, they went to us, they went to a segregated High School, and the ones who are still able they get together once a month, you know, and have classes. So like, I got to see what it meant to live in community to live in a black community, and what some of the rights and responsibilities and the joys. Yeah, work. And so I'm wondering, the work that you're creating, like when I slipped t
hrough your Instagram page, is also a type of very difficult and challenging work. What do you think is the difference between managing your own platform and talking about ways to process things that were kind of traumatic and harmful to black women's lives? And doing that at a company that's demanding that you do this and do that isn't just do you see, I'm saying like, both places demanded something difficult. But one was maybe financially renumerated, because it's a job you're getting paid for, but was emotionally violent and damaging. And another is still like it's demanding. It's a lot of work. But it produces something different. Do you see what I'm asking? Like, is there a difference? Maybe I guess the difference might be between working for somebody else, for yourself. But but the process is, it's still I'm just saying it's hard. You're still doing things that are hard. Can you talk a bit about that. And I just love what you said before about, like, you're not trying to be quote unquote, successful on Instagram, you're not doing the seminars on how you can monetize your Instagram and all your social media life in order to
put whatever to capitalism, you know? No, how do you see this particular social platform working? for your benefit is working for your benefit, but at least for me, I feel grateful, because it's working for my benefit, too. Because I know when I go to your page, I'm not gonna see nonsense. I'm not gonna say yes, I'm going to see a Christian practice that's much more in line with my particular Christian practice that's also connected to black liberation theology. So I'm able to see this and I'm saying like, I don't know, I guess it's not really a question just maybe an assessment of how amazing you are. But what is your like, What keeps you like going, what keeps you like making the things that you're making, but what keeps you putting them out there and doing this work? To help us get free? Because that's what I see on your page.
Um, wow. Okay. So When you were asking, like, what's the difference, if you will, between the corporate side of it, you know, company draining you, and then you putting it out, but you're still being drained in another way? Yeah, I think that it's I draw the lines, you know what I mean? Whereas it's that autonomy of you know, what if I don't want to post about this particular tragedy, or this particular thing today, I can wait to process it in my own way, until I have the words, if I want to practice it at two o'clock in the morning, you know, I'm s
aying I'm in the process, then I think that in the corporate world, it's like, it's a constant grinding of our bones, at the benefit of the corporation. And when your bones are ground to dust, they get blown away, and somebody else replaces you, and when, and, or when the corporation says that you're no longer useful, or you're no longer lining up with their, their objectives, you know, I'm saying like, they create the objectives, they create the focus the goals, what's important to the corporate culture, you know, that particular company. For me, it's like, This work is what's important to this body, you know what I mean? And for me, that's going to be rewarding in ways that financial reward can never touch. Because, you know, like Bible says, you can sell
your soul, you know, AB you can pursue every treasure of this world and your soul is depleted to the point of death. Yeah, yeah, I have been there, I have been making six figures a year in that company that was draining my soul to the point of death to where I would sit down, and I'm gonna, I'm gonna put it out there. I wouldn't be in the smallest closet in my house. And it was a tiny little towel closet in the bathroom. And I would get in there on the floor with my Bible. And I would close the door, you know, wait for my kids there. See my husband's
asleep. And I would cry. We for hours because of how I felt being in that company. Hmm. I would week on the floor in a closet. Yeah, it became a prayer closet. And I thought that not Yes. Yes. But the kind of preys on the kind of sadness that I was experiencing was on was really unhealthy. It was it was really mentally unhealthy and depression and all the rest of it. Yeah. So great. I have a six figure income, but my soul is overdraft you know, saying like, yes, I'm paying fees that I can't. I'm robbing Peter to pay Paul in my spirit,
Unknown Speaker 27:46
yes. To pay these
fees that this corporation is withdrawing, constantly causing conflict. And it's never enough. It's never enough. You are never never is you're never caught up. You never get paid up. The account is never even there. Never. Yes. Oh, congratulations, you have done this thing well done. Now we can pivot the way that your work operates. And you don't have to pour out the contents of your heart into the brain like a get Yes, the demand you're always you will forever be Well, speaking of me, finally realize you will forever be in the red Lydia. Yeah, that like really and like I like prayed up, like Lord, you know, help this to be easier, help
us to, like help us to balance. And he kept saying, the problem is the company leaves the company leaves.
Lord, Jesus, whatever Did you did you do? Jesus I just in my bank account, you see all the money in my bank account Jesus, because that money came from them company, that company. Okay.
That's really what it what does that's really what it was, that was really the struggle. It's that coming from a background where money was always an issue when I was growing up financial insecurity and instability that that was my driving force. I never wanted to be rich, okay, that's not who I am or what
I just wanted to be stable. I just wanted to be financially stable. But I hadn't even started thinking about generational wealth and all those things. I hadn't even come to that point, in my understanding at that point. I just wanted to be able to continue paying my mortgage and you know, all these kinds of things. And that's what kept me there. And I was like, but if I leave, I'm gonna lose, everything will lose my house. And sure enough, it's like What do you care more about? Your piece or this property? You don't care a piece of the property, which which then ties into what we're seeing across the country with certain folks who cl
aim to believe in the Lord talking about property over people. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. property. is good. Goodness forbid a CVS get burned down or a Wendy's? Because, yeah, goodness forbid, yes. It's sad. That man got murdered. But hey, should the Wendy's have to pay What is with with how much of insurance and all come on that night anyways? We're really sad about you blacks having such a hard time of it but what did that poor innocent CBS ever do to you? Okay? people throw CBS is everywhere, you know in the CBS they like hey, we don't give you one anywhere here you're committed
CBS and Starbucks Starbucks on every corner. Okay. What I was experiencing there on the individual which was you know, property yeah amassing, you know, over my peace yes is what I feel that because I was spiritually educated by the white American church which if their values tie into property over people then as someone who is spiritually educated by the white American church don't I then start to value property over my PJs you Do you know what I'm saying? And so that that time period before coming to crafting where I was having that that spiritual struggle of let it go Lydia you got to walk away from this whatever was so
breaking and so hard. And sure enough, I'm going to be completely transparent with you. I left the company started crafting we could no longer afford our home we sold our home thank God with a profit paid off a lot of debt. Thank god once again, you know, that's important. You moved into a very small apartment, okay, rebuilt a little bit and got life back on on track in other means, but that's the thing you have
to be willing to say what is more important, my peace, this property this profitability, this prosperity, quote unquote, you know, or peace and people? Yes, you know what I mean? And so that's what is permanent for me like the souls of of human being is permanent. This like going back to the embossing, that's what's important is this is the souls of human beings. And so how can I use my platform? Use my crafting use my, my talent? Yes. To and I say that with air quotes, to help people see that their souls are important to me. You know what I mean? We all want to matter. Yes. to those around us, like LGBTQ community, trans kids who a
lready feel like they don't matter that they're disposable. I'm sorry, you're not you are valuable black people, you are valuable disabled, folks, you are valuable. And I feel like in this society, that society that we live in, it feels like all of those that I just mentioned, are the acceptable loss. You know, that when you're in a corporation or you're working retail, yeah. Okay, let's because cuz I work with retail, I'm not sure about you, but way back in the day, it is
there, there is a certain amount of understanding every quarter that there's going to be loss, yeah, there's going to be some fast You know, they call it shrinkage. They call it where I'm on a shrinkage, right? I'm shrinkage. Right? There's gonna be faster, there's gonna be product that comes in damage he's gonna get, there's gonna be product that is damaged on the floor, you know, things like that. And they work that into the bottom line. And they say, Okay, this is the number that we're expecting. And of course, there's loss prevention and all that jazz, but they know these corporations know that there's only a certain number, and that's acceptable, you know, they work it into the bottom line. For me lately, I
have been feeling as though my black life is the acceptable loss that somewhere along the way, the white powers that be sat sat there and wrote out Yeah, you know, this is good to do per quarter, this is who we're gonna lose. Yes, it's gonna be black people. It's gonna be disabled folks. It's going to be trans kids, that feeling that they have to take their lives over, over coming out and exploring who they really are. It's going to be gay people, you know, these are the acceptable loss. Right here. Bottom line? That's fine. Yes. So when you lose so when you lose that friendship with that, quote, unquote, white ally, who you said that one thing to advise, you know what, I can't follow you on that
one. You know, that's not that's too far. I want you to be free, but I don't want you making uncomfortable. Right? You have become the Accept boss, she's okay with losing your friendship. Because it was always you really acceptable loss. When you go to your job and say, you know, we haven't taken a stand on these issues of these things. You know, there's workplace trauma going on here. Steve is saying things that's really inappropriate. You know, Jana is you know, doing some stuff that's really making me feel uncomfortable, even though when you were hired, they said they care about diversity. You know, just come to me with anything. You know. I always open talks about that. Yes. In her book awesome. Channing talks about that I was good. Yes, ain't no friends here, she says, and I say all the time ain't no friends here. You are the acceptable loss when you go to HR, and you report X, Y, and Z in these emails in this workplace culture. And they say, you know, maybe if you just have a different tone, maybe if you just
you are the exception, you smile more, probably, right? You are the acceptable loss. When you are in the school house, and you can't wear your braids. You can't wear your natural hair, you can't wear your Afro, you can't or you are the acceptable loss. And that's really hard. And I want people to know who come to my account, you are not an acceptable loss. Exactly. You are not an acceptable loss. It's true. It's absolutely true. And this notion that for some people, there are some folks who can compartmentalize and just said and I think by some folks, the way that white culture seems to operate, at least the way I've identified it, in my own experience, as someone who's a quilter, and a soloist that they think about the issues that apply to the lives of black people as something complete
Lisa Woolfork 36:14
ly separate and removed from the craft, or from the sewing machine company, or from the fabric company that crafting and sewing is simply a neutral activity that anyone can pick up and have access to in the exact same way. Which is ridiculous, because the way that America is set up, which is a country that was designed this way based on division, and based on sex segmentation, there has never been a way that black folks could just roll up into something. What about what in America is equal opportunity? Like? Nothing? Not even going? Isn't? Nothing is equal? Not? Not even death, not even death? Not even being murdered? Not even being like? Yeah, none of that is equal. So why would you imagine that this would be any different, or and I think that sometimes, at least for myself, I have to and this was before I started to be much more, you know, forward speaking about these things, which I can't remember when that time even was honestly,
I've always been pretty forward speaking. But thinking about this kind of thing. And to selling in particular is to realize that the same issues of white supremacy that invade the workplace that make things difficult and painful for black folks, are the same people creating very similar systems, and even our recreational lives. And when you go to the craft store, when you go to pick up a sticker book for your planner, and everybody's white, and you're like, I don't want white women in my planner. And yeah, it's true. And seriously, there's a sticker company, I'm not gonna say who but I'm really supportive of them. And they do great work. And I'm like, why can't all the stickers be black? Why do you have to have one blonde white woman in there? Because they don't throw one Nappy Headed black girls and their books. They don't put that in there for us. So like, what is this something about like, the way that I feel like sometimes black folks have been encouraged to not center ourselves in our own story. And we've not been encouraged to do that, because that
Lisa Woolfork 37:59
exposes something about this whole country. And there's a scholar who is really popular in the Black Arts Movement, Hoyt Fuller, and he wrote a book, I think it's called the Black aesthetic. And basically, he said this line, which is stunning. And he says "the facts of Negro life accuse white people" "the facts of Negro life accuse white people." I think that's actually still true. I think he wrote it in like maybe in 1967 or something. But it's still true, because there are things that happen to us that happened to black people in this country that are only possible because of white supremacy. Yeah, even if a white person is not and again I know you know this they know this like oh well I'm not racist, but and I saw I think it was Shannon Sharpe said it it was so good. He says, you know, all these people out here saying, I have black friends I have black friends and white folks and I have black friends. But if you have a black friend quote unquote, and you are not empathetic to the pain of their lives, you don't have black friends, you know black people or black people.
Exactly. I saw that as well. Exactly right. You know, black people they love to draw out the black friend card when someone drops the year a racist card and it's this is not Oh, no, no, it's not like reverse this. Let's get out of jail free card from monopoly. Right? Don't think bad of me. I know a black person. It's like right now how many white people I know you know, honestly, you can no black people. You can have black people in your family. You can have gone to college black people. You can have a biracial grandchild. You can You You can be sleeping with black people currently and be racist. Let me know oh my gosh. Like
every single enslaver right black people in their home and family and family in their bed and they were racist. This is what you descend from Yes. So please don't try to Gaslight us with I have a black friend Do you? Right? I'm like does your black friend now you talk about her like this because and also it's really interesting in conversations with people who are who show racist traits or tendencies whatever people who are racist when they throw out that part it's okay but let's examine the friendship what is the friendship okay? Because I've got acquaintances and friends and all that kind of stuff but there's very few that I'm sharing life with and that I am very vulnerable with like maybe there's three people aside from my husband I'm an actual li
ke my sister, my mom, I'm talking about friends that I actually share the tears West You know, I'm saying like, share the heartache with share the trauma with if your black friend big air quotes for around friend is not calling you when it hits the fan the black community and like pouring out the depths of themselves THROUGH THROUGH THROUGH anger through rage or sadness through tears. They're if they don't feel comfortable to do that with you have to then say you have a black acquaintance or you know, black people. It's true. It's absolutely because I'm not sharing my trauma and my you know, all that with rent random strangers really although last night I went on live after hearing about the the murder of mkhaya Bryant and I was just very open and vulnerable in that moment. But it
wasn't a platform or a a way to hear why people had to say about it was this is my grief. You can't respond. I don't need your response. And see friendship is I'm going to share my grief. You're going to respond. You're going to share you're just you're going to weep with me. Yes. You're going to grieve with me. We're gonna rejoice when we rejoice and grieve when we grieve. But that's not the same thing. If you see a black person on live on youtube on Instagram, sharing their grief and being open with their anger and rage in the moment of hearing about another black life taken by a police officer. That's not y'all being friends, that's been showing you what this really looks like in real life.
Unknown Speaker 42:45
Okay. And so don't get it twisted. Don't think that's friendship. That's just expression.
Unknown Speaker 42:52
That's art sometimes, you know, and saying yes. Oh, anyways, ah, I know. And but I think that one of the things that makes me so excited about your work into your platform, is that you are so able to communicate this in really beautiful ways. And so I find out, I found that so much information just by coming to your page and flipping through. So about HB one, for example, that passed in Florida recently that criminalizes blackness and criminalizes protesting and prep utilizes it's that that's such a such a dangerous precedent. And I learned about that from you. I learned about that you breaking that down, putting it in your very special frame that's easy to recognize the one that means I think you have a little bit of a watercolor background. Yeah. It's something I made on my iPad. Yeah,
Lisa Woolfork 43:45
that's like the
procreate y'all love, I have procreate, I have it, I bought it. And I don't know how to use it. And then the second class, that's what I need to do seriously, because you YouTube it I want to like learn how to do like relaxing digital coloring, that's learn how to do it as well have coloring books. But the thing that I'm so excited about this work that you have created through the procreate software, is that it communicate so effectively, and so cleanly. These very important and complex topics, and I was really grateful to learn about HB one from you. Yeah,
I really was. Do you want to talk a little bit about it about how horrible it is? And like, what you think that you are everything like you're communicating something so beautiful in doing this particular form of advocacy? Yeah, I feel like HB one, and we're talking about in Florida here. Our governor is a clown and so he is threatened by black people using the full extent of their voting powers of their voice of protest of our constitutional right to express when the state coming in and just you know, in any protest is our constitutional right yet. It is threatening to those who want to hold power close to their chest because it calls
them out. You know what I mean? And so they have said that, oh, it's about, you know, damaging property. And this that, yeah, there and whatever. And the protests that we saw are sorry, they never call it a protest. They call it a riot. When you don't pass the paper bag test. It's suddenly Oh, yeah, right. It's definitely Yeah, oh, you're on the way today happen? Oh, that's a protest. But if you're in a highway, you deserve you deserve death. But right capital is something we should all be able to have separate opinions about. And don't the people have the right to take their concerns to the government? It would be laughable if it weren't deadly. Okay. It's true. So th
e governor here, and I'm sure across the country, there are other states trying to do the same thing. There are, um, that he has signed a bill into law, it passed the House passed the Senate to limit our right to protest. And it says things like, you know, groups of nine or more call bullshit, like, reborn, three negros cannot be assembled without the president, the white man. Exactly. And then it talks about, you know, if you're blocking a highway or roadway, you know, essentially, someone can run you over and kill you. And they cannot be sued by the family of the victim. Right, right. So not only does not only will the state not prosecute that, yeah, then the person's family cannot file civil suits. So as I know, one
of the reasons that Charlottesville became such a synonym for white supremacist violence is because of the protests here on August 11, and 12th. On 2017, and I was there on August 12. I was at an intersection when that white premises drove his car through. And it was we woke up screaming for months. It was a nightmare. It was chaotic. It was violent. It was 19 people injured. Heather hire was killed. It was just like I was put through a weird series of events. My husband and I had gotten separated at the protest. And he was ahead of me. And he looked to see where I was. So he turned around to find me. And I saw him and I started running toward him. And then there was this bag.
Unknown Speaker 47:33
Oh, my gosh.
And then I looked up, and all I saw was a shoe flying in the air. And that was someone who had been hit by the car. And I knew that I knew that boy, I knew the boy who had been hit by the car whose shoe was up in the air later, I learned all this information. But what the Florida law allows, is that is okay. That is what the Florida law allows. And there's quite a few laws in quite a few states that are basically saying if someone's blocking a roadway, you have the right to drive over them exactly. like you'd like. And there's no part of their thinking that is even thinking that it's going to be one one of their own, if you will, okay, these they're not making rules for themselves. They're making for us to keep
us in checking in line. Yes. Um, and so this law that has now been signed into well, bill that's now been signed into law last week with let us not forget a huge panel of the Polk County Sheriff's Department standing right behind the governor, a panel of maybe 3040 white men and a couple of white women, not a black person sight and even if there was it wouldn't change anything. No laughing and just the evil that I felt in that moment, as I watched that. It was just like how we've got him now. Yes, yes. Um, yes, we're gonna keep we're gonna make Florida great. Again, we're gonna make Florida great again, right? We are gonna make sure to keep these colors and these allied outsiders from helping us turn Florida into the vacation spot of America. I can come here and enjoy and be tourists and not think at all about the racist and violent, violent history. That is the foundation of Florida from the displacement and murder of the Seminoles that we then will now tur
n into a mascot for one of our state universities and union hall and then we make the conversation about is the chop Okay, or not, as opposed to saying we is genocide. Okay. Right. We have the easy conversations that we will never have the heart was because we really don't want to change. And so it's everything and beyond. Yes, so this law is just the tipping point. It's just the tip of the iceberg. Because it opens the door like a wedge Oh, yeah, for more and more in legislation of ours to come through, they're going to limit the voting rights, of course of black people. It's it's bit. And then when our voting rights are suppressed, then of course, certain law makers stay in office when they shouldn't. And we're seeing that in Georgia, and we're going to, I'm sure it's happening in other places, but we're really seeing it in Georgia. And it's just, it's not even. It's not even sad. It's demoralizing. It's like, when does this stop? And I feel like for us to have any kind of platform. I just feel like I would be what have I done with my time? If all I'm doing is sharing, you know, Mike, Mike, Mike crafts that I'm not talking about? If I have eyes on it by one fo
llower, or I, if I have 100,000? Yes. What have I done with my time and that's a conviction. That's a spiritual conviction. Okay. If you don't feel convicted in that way, that's, that's fine. That's, you know, for me, this was the spiritual conviction that was laid on my heart. Okay. After prayer, I mean, the Bible, like, if I'm not using my platforms, my talents, my whatever, to shine light on injustice lurking in the dark. What am I doing, you know what I mean? And so that's the accountability spiritually, not from man, not from anything special accountability of it's not about earning grace on about earning favor in the eyes of God. Like that's not a thing. It's about knowing that my time here is short. Yes. And that there are people who I'm going to reach that maybe the next person's not going to read. That's right. And so I've got to use my voice. I've got to use my platform, got to use my art, I've got to use whatever I got in these hands, these black hands.
That's right, and shine light on the fact that there are people being murdered in the streets there are people going hungry right now there are children taking their lives. Yes, there are women being assaulted in many types of ways. I just have to do it. I have to do it. It's not about earning anything. It's not about you know, God saying, good job, like not even back. No, it's just simply, if you put compassion in our hearts, we put empathy in our hearts. Is that so that we can store it up in Bible? It's so that we can turn around and help others to have that same compassion and empathy?
And... And that's what I love about what you have done,
and you have done and created so many wonderful things, so many beautiful things.
I love the ability to like, to like, I always know when-- when a post is yours.
Unknown Speaker 52:50
[ Laughter ]
And-- And not just because of the words, but it's like, even before I read it, I'm like, 'Oh, that's Lydia, okay.' It's just like,
[ Laugher ]
You know, like, that kind of instant recognition that... because people...
Because, at least in my opinion, the work that you're doing is so trustworthy and reliable.
And it shows that it's coming from a place of deep love for Black people.
It's coming from a place of deep love for the liberation of the most marginalized, which will free us all.
And I think that you providing that as a model for people is generous work,
but I'm also glad to hear that it's soul-sustaining for you.
Is that something that is another difference from your workplace? You know.
You know, and then... and then that we can build lives that affirm us.
that we can do that. I think the fact that we can do it, and we can tell other folks about it
can hopefully encourage more folks to step out a little bit, you know, I'm not exactly...
Not everybody is going to be able to prayerfully walk away from a job,
not everyone is going to be able to start... like, a craftivism platform, or start a podcast, or start a YouTube channel.
Not everyone is going to do that. But the idea that 'you can, if you want to,' like, that is encouraging.
The possibility is there. It's not for everybody, we are not all called in the exact same way to the exact same things.
Other than to maintain and put forth the dignity of human beings. You know what I mean? For me, it's this.
For me, it's this... For someone else, it might just simply being the voice in the workplace is you know, coming alongside a coach, a co-worker who's going through life.
Like, there's infinite ways to be an activist, but none of those ways involves being silent.
So there there is no... In my opinion, there is no silent activism. It's about...
making use of where you are, your resources, your personal talents and gifts, your personal relationships with people,
and speaking into those lives. Speaking into those moments, those moments that are pivotal, using your voice, however you...
There's a lot of... or there was a lot of, anyways, I weeded out a lot of this.
You know, last year of like, 'Well, I just don't know what to say. So I don't say anything.'
And it's like, you... not to say speak without wisdom,
of course, be wise in what you say and whatever.
But sometimes the the lack of speaking up or the reluctance to use your voice isn't coming from your lack of wisdom,
it's not coming from your lack of knowing the issues and understanding.
It's just simply fear.
You're just simply afraid of... being that ally that you've been called to be.
And that I think is very... dangerous for those marginalized people around you.
If enough people were active allies, no, active allies... I don't feel like we would see as much workplace violence as we see.
Regarding... Not... I'm talking about, like, you know, the HR memos and, and the meetings
And the, and the isolation...
There wouldn't be that kind of workplace violence there. Because the culture would be,
'Hey... we got active allies in this place, and they're willing to use their privilege and their voice to say that's not okay.'
'That's not okay.' 'That's unacceptable.'
So please... Silent activism keeps us right where we are.
Like, just consuming... just consuming knowledge constantly.
And not actually like... doing anything with it isn't helping anybody.
It's not helping anybody!
It's not, and they're consuming it, but not digesting it.
Right! It's just sitting in your gut! For what?
For no reason. And... yeah. And also, I don't like how...
that switches the emphasis, right, on to... that you,
that your efforts now need to be targeted to the path of persuasion.
'Oh, let me help persuade you, reluctant white ally, that this is how you can do the bare minimum. And people will give you cookies.'
That's not interesting.
In any way.
That's not it.
That's not it.
I am so sorry to say that we have to wrap up!
We've been talking for, like, an hour! This is amazing!
So, tell us what you have going on next. What can we next expect from Clever Girl Craftings?
I am going to continue, you know, speaking out... making sparkly things.
[ Laughter ]
I have an exciting partnership, a couple of exciting partnerships coming up this summer.
And I'm not... Unfortunately, contracts. Not allowed to say. I'm just...
No worries. People'll just wait and see. Be surprised.
Please keep your eye out. I'm really excited to just continue evolving, as you put it, you know, the evolution.
And I haven't ever looked at it that way. And so I thank you for that, because I'm going to continue processing that.
But I just can-- I'm just very excited to see what the next phase and phases of my evolution are,
through my craft, through my art, through my words... through the Lord.
And so... I hope that I encourage others to stand up and say something, you know what I mean? To link arms and let's...
Man, let's tackle these issues together.
Yes, I think that's a wonderful note on which to end. And on that note, thank you so much. Lydia Diaz from clever girl crafting.
I will include all her social media links at the end of this episode. So you all can find out more about Lydia.
Thank you, Lydia, you're amazing.
Thank you for having me! Thank you!
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