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We’re Starting with Ourselves

We’re Starting with Ourselves

A couple of years ago, Cleanyst set out with a simple mission—to create safe and effective natural body and home care products and deliver them in a way that protects our planet.

Most days we have the privilege of thinking about the issues of health, wellness and sustainability. We discuss the merits of plant-based ingredients, ways to reduce our environmental footprint, and we transparently share our knowledge and understanding of the personal care and cleaning product industries.

However, we have become increasingly aware that while planning for a healthier and more sustainable future, we cannot look past the very real, present and deeply painful issues caused by pervasive racism today. We believe that ensuring black lives are equal and equally protected is paramount to creating the kind of world we want to pass on to future generations.

At Cleanyst, we also believe that our daily actions can have an impact that extends far beyond ourselves and so, we are starting with ourselves. Although we are a small team and a new brand, we are initiating tough conversations in the office and at home. We are listening intently to black voices so that we may better understand the lived experiences of those whose realities are different from our own and so we can act with intention as our brand and our team continues to grow.

By educating ourselves, by incorporating our learning into our daily lives and business, and by continuing to transparently share the knowledge and information we receive, we hope to continue to be a force of positive change in the world. We would like to encourage each of you to do the same.

Listen. Learn. Unlearn (thank you, Rachel Cargle). Amplify Black voices. Vote.

If you are also looking for resources, below is a list to help you get started:

Mental Health Issues Facing the Black Community
  • Mental Health Issues Facing the Black Community by Sunshine Behavioral Health - According to the U.S. surgeon general’s groundbreaking 2016 report Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, Black Americans “are over-represented in populations that are particularly at risk for mental illness.” This is because Black people in the United States have been affected by racism and racial trauma repeatedly throughout history. This article offers insight into the lived experiences of Black Americans as well as resources for help if you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of mental illness. 

Black Voices in Conservation, Sustainability, and Intersectional Environmentalism:
  • Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson – A marine biologist, policy expert, strategist, and Brooklyn native. Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv, a consulting firm for conservation solutions grounded in social justice, and founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for coastal cities. 
  • Leah Thomas – Activist + eco-communicator
  • Bahamas Plastic Movement – Works to provide research, education, citizen science and policy change to create a healthy marine and terrestrial environment free of plastic pollution.
Teachers and Leaders to follow on Instagram:
Books for Children: 

This is an expert from a list originally created and shared by Brittany Smith, a pre-kindergarten teacher from New Jersey. You can find the full list on Brittany Smith’s Twitter page.


This is an expert from a list originally published on 

  • Code Switch – Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby explore how issues of race and identity manifest in every corner of American culture, from music to poetry to sports. 
  • Come Through with Rebecca Carroll – Culture writer, editor, and producer Rebecca Carroll sits down with high-profile guests for in-depth chats in the vein of NPR’s Fresh Air—but with a focus on race. 
  • Seeing White – Host and producer John Biewen offers an excellent primer on the history of whiteness in America, sharing lesser-known events that will inspire white listeners to see their own place in society with fresh eyes. 
  • Pod Save the People – A grounding listen when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the news cycle, as organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson and his cohosts make sense of it all. 
Shows to Stream 
  • When They See Us (Netflix) – Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they’re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story. 
  • 13th (Netflix) – In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.
  • Seven Seconds (Netflix) – The death of a 15-year-old African American boy in Jersey City sets off a police cover-up and a search for the truth.
  • The Hate u Give (Hulu) – A teen witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend by a trigger-happy cop and must decide whether to testify or not. 
Organizations to Support: 
  • The Bail Project – National fund that fights racial and economic inequities in the jail system 
  • Black Visions Collective – Social justice organization and legal fund based in MinneapolisSt. Paul 
  • North Star Health Collective – Provides health care and other resources to activists and organizations on the ground 
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund – Seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.
  • Color of Change – The nation’s largest online racial justice organization
  • Campaign Zero – An organization outlining guides and resources about civil and human rights legislation

We understand these lists are not comprehensive and we welcome other recommendations and suggestions.  

Next article Reflections on MLK + Sustainability