March 21, 2021

Dear CIFA supporters and members of our community,

 

I am angry and frustrated by the ongoing racism in America, made more evident by the pandemic and the virus’ disproportionate impact on communities of color.  Racism must end and white people must take steps to end the systems of oppression that rely on the denigration of African-Americans, and people of color. Black Lives Matter. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are integral to the fabric of America.  We cherish the diversity in our community of schools, program partners, friends, and families.

 

The CIFA is a small non-profit that hopes to help children survive and thrive in the changing world by teaching sewing, design, and creativity with clothing. We educate kids about the role of fashion in society, including diverse historic contributions, unjust labor practices, and environmental issues and an increased focus on recognizing inequalities and the promotion of social justice.

 

Fashion history is a history of colonialism, xenophobia, racism, slavery, sweatshops, and white supremacy, all woven into the fabric of modern America and the world. And, at the same time, fashion has, and will continue to be, a ladder out of despair. We are doing our part to educate children by sewing critical awareness and proactive design thinking into their developing imaginations. We aim to educate children to be confident in their understanding of the world and their own relationship to it. As they grow, we disrupt these histories, envision healing and empowerment, and mend the torn souls of communities and nations.

 

Sincerely yours,

Britta Wheeler

Founder and Director

The Children’s Institute of Fashion Arts New York City. www.theCIFA.org