A Note from Luke Huffstutter, Owner of Annastasia Salon
Dear Annastasia Salon Family,
My name is Luke and I am an owner and the President of Annastasia Salon. I love our community and I am proud to run a small business in Portland, OR. While we have been working hard to reopen our salon, something bigger has been happening around us and it’s our responsibility to speak up and be a part of that change.
At Annastasia’s, we stand together in solidarity with the Black community and Black Lives Matter. We stand firmly against racial injustice, police brutality, and white supremacy. As a business owner I care deeply about our company culture as well as the impact our salon has on our neighborhood. Everyone is welcome in our salon and each one of us is willing to listen, willing to learn, and willing to change. As a team, we are having new conversions with each other and working to learn how to be better allies in our community.
We have historically avoided commenting as a company on a variety of social and political issues in order to maintain what we envisioned as a “neutral” point of view born out of respect for our guests and employees who have a variety of views, causes, and political orientations. Listening judgement-free is a longstanding tradition of the salon — when you sit in our chairs, we have always tried to refrain from sharing our opinions with guests, instead seeking to understand and listen to their perspectives. As a salon, it is our job to make people feel welcome and cared for every day. We strive to be a safe place for everyone.
As the leader of a large team, this philosophy has always felt right. Instead of making statements, I have focused on caring for and investing in the success of our staff both personally and professionally. But recently, this has not felt right to me. In the middle of trying to re-open our business safely for our guests and salon team, I have been uneasy. The reality is: I am a white male business owner operating in a community that is not very diverse. I have looked inward and in conversations with friends and family and asked: Why am I not saying something? And if I’m not helping our entire team commit to fighting against racism, am I doing what I should as a leader in our business and in our community?
I don’t know the answers and I’m not completely comfortable even asking, so here I am struggling out loud with how to lead my company in a difficult world and knowing I may not be saying the right thing or doing it the right way. What I do know is that I believe in equality for all. I acknowledge that the game is rigged and we have allowed it to go on for too long. I believe systemic racism needs to be uprooted in our country and our hearts and it will not be tolerated by me, our team, or our business.
We have taken the last few weeks to reflect and learn. It is clear that in addition to educating ourselves and voicing our opinions, we must take action as well. Annastasia Salon acknowledges that this is Juneteenth weekend. In honor of this important holiday, we will donate 5% of our June 19th sales to the Urban League of Portland https://ulpdx.org/. We will also be closed for Juneteenth, 2021.
Additionally, we are taking the following steps:
- We are implementing a series of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training for our managers and our staff.
- We pledge to donate to local organizations that are building and promoting a more equitable Portland.
- We are having a professional audit done on our protocols and procedures to help us improve our equity practices.
We won’t get it right each time we try but that won’t stop us from trying. We want to fight for those systemically left behind and as a business owner I will use this platform available to me to support the path towards love and acceptance for all. I will endeavor, as I always have, to encourage, inspire, educate, and support our guests and our salon family. I welcome your feedback, questions, or comments. You can reach me directly at my email: email@example.com
Hearts! To the community we love,
Everyone is welcome. We have missed you.
If you would like to know more about organizations that are amplifying and empowering black voices in Portland, please get to know these local allies:
Portland African American Leadership Forum – https://www.paalf.org/
Urban League of Portland – https://ulpdx.org/
Self Enhancement Inc. – https://www.selfenhancement.org/
Black United Fund of Oregon – https://www.bufor.org/
Care not Cops – https://www.carenotcops.org/
Critical Resistance PDX – http://criticalresistance.org/chapters/cr-portland/
Don’t Shoot Portland – https://www.dontshootpdx.org/