Alt Black Friday, DEIB & Central Asian Arts

Alt Black Friday, DEIB & Central Asian Arts

My inbox is being flooded with BFCM (Black Friday/Cyber Monday) emails. (And don’t forget the “Small Business Saturday” and “Giving Tuesday” in that same time stretch with their own emails.)

Some of these emails are teasing the traditional “massive discounts” that will be offered during the days following Thanksgiving, the traditional official beginning of the holiday shopping season. The others are from digital consultants and support companies, promising that their magical digital tool or consulting service will make all the difference in maximizing sales during this oh-so-important shopping weekend.

Thinking about the commercialism that has overtaken the holiday season, I decided I wanted to do something different. I wanted to have a different focus than the ever-present business/marketing themes of “revenue growth” and “more is always better.”

I didn’t want to try to compete with the giants of commerce–Amazon, Etsy, department stores & big box stores, Apple, etc.–all supported by massive advertising dollars and/or paid social media influencers with millions of followers. That’s simply not possible for a business the size of HoonArts.

At the same time, the world-at-large continues to seem determined to travel a path towards self-destruction–from wars in Ukraine and Israel/Gaza and the imminent collapse of the nuclear test ban treaty, to ever-increasing income inequity and centralization of social, political and economic power in a smaller and smaller number of people and companies. From workplace burnout to school board members bashing each other verbally like small children. And who can ignore the looming election cycle and the increase in hate crimes and hate communications?

So what does all this have to do with DEIB? And what’s the connection to cultural heritage preservation, so central to our artist partners and the HoonArts mission?

I realized today that DEIB and our HoonArts/artisan mission are two sides of the same coin.

𝗗𝗘𝗜𝗕, typically applied to discussions around the modern workplace, stands for:
Diversitythe demographics of the workplace, which includes ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, military/veteran status, location, nationality, disability status, skills, and many other factors. 
Equity gives each employee fair and equal access, opportunities, and advancements, regardless of their diversity background. 
Inclusion ensures everyone on the team is treated fairly and respectfully, despite differences. 
Belonging centers around the employee experience of feeling accepted in the workplace. Every team member should feel that their perspective is valued and adds something useful.

The research shows that when these values are living values in the workplace culture, the objective results of the business improve along many dimensions.

Our artist partners and HoonArts are tackling the same issues in service of the same values–through the specific lens of the traditional arts–in the workplace and beyond. We want to create a world for future generations that is based on these same values.  Art and cultural heritage preservation can be a path to help bridge the gaps–to help people come together, listen, learn, and appreciate their own cultural identity and that of others, as well as their common humanity.

It's always such a challenge to succinctly describe what HoonArts is, because our vision is world-encompassing while our footprint is so local (New Mexico and Central Asia) and personal. Maybe one way to describe HoonArts is that we’re striving to do for the art and travel lovers in our personal networks what DEIB strives to do for the business workplace.

For myself, I’ve decided to lean into the personal and let the desired “big results” flow from (or not) the ripple effects of those personal relationships. And I’m going to, yet again, redefine what success looks like for myself—and it’s not going to be built around the scale of our revenue or even our “impact”. It will be about building and nurturing those relationships and watching the ripple effects. And being satisfied that every person and every connection in the network matters.


With all that in mind, we’ve created an entirely different kind of BFCM special event! We’re hosting another virtual event with internationally renowned suzani embroidery artist and entrepreneur Munira Akilova, live from Tajikistan! Mark your calendars for this event. We’ll go behind the scenes of this beautiful traditional art to learn how Munira is working to 𝙗𝙪𝙞𝙡𝙙 𝙗𝙧𝙞𝙙𝙜𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙘𝙧𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙥𝙖𝙘𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙧𝙩 that will help create the same outcomes that DEIB values.


PSST!  For those in attendance, you’ll hear some of the details about our upcoming Silk Road Cultural Discovery Tour of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (April 21-May 9), which will go up on the website on November 14.

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