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New Jewelry Group Aims for Greater Inclusion

Jul 15, 2020 6:47 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... A New York-based designer plans to establish a trade organization to help jewelers from the black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) community progress in the industry.

“We will begin with a focus on education through outreach to high-school students,” Angely Martinez told Rapaport News Tuesday. “We will then implement programs such as funding and mentorship for emerging talent and experienced designers who have been in the industry longer.”

Martinez hopes the organization will be a fully registered nonprofit within six to nine months. Its leaders will be BIPOC designers and industry professionals, but she expects to receive support from across the jewelry industry.

The involvement of black people in the jewelry industry has been under the spotlight since the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in May, which led to protests around the US and increased debate about racism.

Martinez was one of 27 BIPOC designers who signed an open letter to the jewelry industry last week, calling for the sector to adopt several measures to improve equality. The recommendations included offering paid apprenticeships, scholarships and grants; increasing representation of BIPOC-owned businesses in retail shelf space; and hiring more BIPOC employees.

“We are not asking every single business to implement every single thing because it is not realistic,” she explained. “We want to see long-term change which will benefit BIPOC designers so they can stay in the industry and have a lasting career. We also feel this will help the industry as a whole by making space for more diverse creative expressions that will attract a larger consumer audience.”

Image: Angely Martinez. (Angely Martinez/Instagram)
Tags: Angely Martinez, BIPOC, George Floyd, new york, Rapaport News
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