At YoBe, we are sitting with the pain many people in our country are feeling right now. Black folks were already were feeling the injustice of a virus that has disproportionately impacted communities of color, and in these past few weeks, we have been reminded yet again of the violence they too often face at the hands of police and white people. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. All three, and far too many others, are no longer with us because of the racism and white supremacy that our country has struggled to shake.
We own a simple, small yoga studio in Beacon Hill. And yet even that offers much to unpack. Yoga itself has long been fraught with questions about cultural appropriation and prevailing images of young, fit, white women. While YoBe has been in this neighborhood for almost 14 years, we recognize that we are undoubtedly a proof point as more white families move in and more families of color are displaced from Seattle’s southend.
We take seriously our role in creating a space and a community for all and approaching yoga with sensitivity to its history and its present. We have worked to put that into action by offering our studio as a dedicated practice space for communities of color as well as for women experiencing homelessness and opening up sliding scale pricing to make yoga accessible to all.
And yet the past few days remind us that we have much more work to do. As a family and as business owners, we are reflecting on that. Our hope is to offer the Black community a space to practice virtually together at no cost, and we will provide more information on that as we work out the details. On May 31, we launched a YoBe matching challenge to support Washington Building Leaders of Change (WA-BLOC), a Black-led organization focusing on education equity and nurturing young leaders of color in Southeast Seattle. In less than 24 hours, the community raised more than $1,000 to support this work, and we encourage you to consider supporting their work even though the match is met.
In yoga, we often begin our practice by setting an intention. It is a way of focusing our minds, our movement, and our energetic selves toward a specific goal, perhaps compassion or connection, perhaps justice or hope. Our hope is that we can each carry our intentions from our mats into our lives, into action that joins with the rising force for change around us.
In solidarity with the movement for Black lives,
Sarah and Elizabeth