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Open and Honest: A BIPOC Vendor Shares Her Thoughts + a Call to Action

Chas Thompson, owner of Wildflower Portland, relives a painful moment as BIPOC vendor and gets real about how to help make a change.
By: 
Chas Thompson
Chas Thompson of Wildflower Portland works with a floral installation of her design.

This time last year I was ecstatic. I had been asked to design a bridal bouquet, held by a gorgeous BIPOC model, Alexandra Williams, for the cover of the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Oregon Bride. Can you imagine how fast I drove to the store to pickup copies (i.e., one for myself, one for my parents, one in case my other one got damaged)? Only when I got to the store, I couldn’t find it. Maybe the magazines hadn’t been restocked yet. Were they already sold out? No, the magazine was there; except it had been flipped over on the shelf. Simple mistake, I thought! I know I’ve changed my mind in the grocery store countless times! But when I took the magazine off the shelf, the one behind it had also been turned around...and the one behind that, and the one behind that, and the one behind that, and...it was clear someone did not want to see a BIPOC on the shelves. Their shelves.

Here we are a year later, almost to the day, and I ask myself, “What has changed?” To me, the answer feels like collective momentum; it’s not just our communities rallying for change, and it’s not just the wedding industry taking a deeper look into their practices—it’s both, simultaneously. 

The future can look different. And not just on the cover, but on the inside as well. As vendors, and as married couples, we’ve all been given a call to action by this industry and that is to submit. Submit our real weddings and styled shoots that showcase diversity. Submit ourselves as BIPOC who want to be added to local bridal magazine directories. So many of us have been longing for progress and representation, as if it would be something that simply happened for us. Now is the time that we get to happen to it.

See Chas Thompson's work here: https://www.wildflowerportland.com/

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