Holding travel brands accountable to diversity

Meet the President of the Black Travel Alliance

In today’s newsletter: the woman diversifying travel, a subscriber-only gift, and face planting on the streets of New York. This month, a portion of the profits from paid newsletter subscriptions will be donated to Girls Write Now. Previous organizations we’ve supported include Women for Women, Heart of Dinner & Black Mamas Matter. If you’ve found your way here but are not yet subscribed, let me help you with that:

Like most industries, there are many systemic problems that plague the travel space. From ableism to racism to tokenism, the travel industry has a long way to go in terms of being truly inclusive. But, thanks to the unyielding efforts of women like Martinique Lewis, we are now seeing tourism boards and companies being held accountable to their diversity goals.

Last June, I noticed the hashtag #PullUpForTravel making the rounds on Instagram. Intrigued, I quickly learned that the social media campaign was created by the Black Travel Alliance as a challenge to brands, publications, and companies to “pull up” with their diversity numbers. The goal was simple: the social media campaign demanded transparency from travel companies on the number of Black staffers and content creators they employed. In the days that followed, I watched curiously as the travel industry seemingly scrambled to respond.

There was a glaring silence from major travel companies who chose not to reply. There was encouraging transparency from small brands that were committed to diversifying. In the end, the Black Travel Alliance had sparked a much-needed conversation rooted in accountability. The message became clear: long gone are the days of giving lip service to diversity. It’s time for action. 

For Martinique Lewis, who is the President and a Founding Member of the Black Travel Alliance, the crusade for inclusivity is unending. While the mind reels that Lewis can find the time to spearhead a grassroots movement, be creative lead for the Nomadness Travel Tribe, work as a diversity in travel consultant, and release a book — that is exactly what she did.

Lewis is the author of the sorely needed ABC Travel Green Bookwhich is a modern-day nod to the 1936 Negro Motorist Green Book. Lewis’ book is the go-to resource for supporting Black-owned businesses and connecting travelers to the larger African Diaspora. One clear morning in New York, I sat down for a phone interview with Lewis to talk about the Black Travel Alliance, her book, and how to hold travel brands accountable to their diversity goals.

Read the interview

A guide to the women-owned businesses in Seattle

While Seattle is known as being the epicenter of the tech industry—with behemoths such as Amazon and Microsoft calling the city home—it also happens to be the second best city in the United States for female entrepreneurs. According to a study by personal finance site, Nerd Wallet, with an average of 12.5 businesses for every 100 Seattle residents, almost half of those businesses are founded by women. In my recently updated feminist city guide to Seattle, I spotlight the many women-owned businesses to visit on your next trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Read the guide

That’s a whole lotta perks!

This weekly newsletter is free for the masses, but I do offer a paid newsletter subscription for readers to get additional content and unlock some serious perks. Our paying subscribers receive: 

  • a printed feminist city guidebook to NYC + future feminist city guidebooks

  • a print subscription to Unearth Women magazine + past issues

  • a monthly subscriber-only getaway newsletter

  • discounts to our online store

  • a percentage of their paid subscription donated to a different non-profit each month

For a limited time only, I am also sending new and existing paid subscribers this woman-made bracelet that comes all the way from an artisan in England. With the promise of travel opening up again this year, this charm bracelet is a reminder of all the adventures we have on the horizon.

Literally anything but fall on your face

Remember that scene in Sex & the City when Carrie Bradshaw slips and falls in Dior? Of course, you do. It was mortifying. On her first day in Paris, Carrie embarks on a French shopping trip only to slide like a seal across the marble floors of Dior as Parisians look on in horror. Well, this week, I had a similar experience. While playfully running down the sidewalk with my boyfriend and our dog, I face planted on the streets of New York. When I say face planted, I mean I really face planted. Looking back, I’m still not sure where the hell my hands were and why they didn’t break my fall, because what did break my fall was my ribs and face.

The fall knocked the wind out of me, so the immediate aftermath found me dramatically gasping for air while my boyfriend and a few sidewalk onlookers stared in horror. As a result, I’ve been nursing some bruised ribs, a scratched up face, and a slightly mortified ego these past few days. So this week my suggestions are limited to not falling on your face and making this New York Times recipe by Sue Li. I made this lemony shrimp and bean stew, which is so damn flavorful. Serve it with a side of toasted country bread because, trust me, you’ll want to mop up every last bite.

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