“Let’s decolonize public space.” This is the theme of the campaign led by the cosmetics brand Lush in collaboration with the associations Mémoires et Partages, Change ASBL and Lëtz Rise Up. The mobilization campaign, carried out in France, Belgium and Luxembourg (place of action of the three associations), aims to enable the recognition of colonial history and the rehabilitation of the memory of the black slave trade during the colonization period.
According to the brand, the colonial history that is present as it is today in the public space (i.e., the urban environment accessible to all) presents several problems. Firstly, “all too often it glorifies the people who participated in the colonization through statues or even street names, without being properly explained to the population: memorial plaques that are not very visible or minimize the person’s role in the colonial era of history, or even no explanation of certain street names”, the brand explains in a press release. On the other hand, “it does not represent or very little the people who were persecuted during this period. Their story is therefore too little highlighted, minimizing the atrocities they experienced during this period.”
Results: “all this contributes to distorting the image and interpretation of colonial history as it really was”, concludes Lush, for whom a better knowledge of issues related to colonial memory and colonial history is essential “to recognize this historical heritage, which continues to mark the present, and to better understand the links between peoples of colonizing countries and peoples of migration”.
A significant commitment for Lush
Because the defense of human rights is one of Lush’s 3 fundamental obligationsSupporting this struggle for the decolonization of public space is crucial, as the history of French, Belgian and Luxembourg colonial history represented in public space today is particularly problematic.
Lush’s desire is to be an ally of associations working in the field to make things develop. To do this, the brand activates several handles, including fundraising. As part of this campaign, Lush is offering a charity bath bomb entitled “Knowledge” (“Knowledge”, in French) available in all its stores in France, Belgium and Luxembourg and on its website. Sold at a price of € 9, all sales (excluding VAT) will be donated to Mémoires et Partages, Change ASBL and Lëtz Rise Up to help them continue their actions.
For Memories and Shares, the collection will fund “The House Against Slavery,” a place where exchanges, debates, artistic expression will take place around the historical issues of colonization and slavery, but also issue contemporary, descendants of these stories, such as racism. For Change ASBL, the collection will give the association the opportunity to continue its actions in terms of education and pedagogy with the public. For Lëtz Rise Up, the funds raised will make it possible to continue the “Decolonize Luxembourg” campaign, which consists of organizing “decolonial” guided tours in the city of Luxembourg, and supporting the association’s other actions (conferences, plays …).
Raise awareness … and act
In addition to fundraising, Lush uses its various platforms (LinkedIn, YouTube and its institutional site We Are Lush) to highlight the struggles of associations and make people understand the importance of decolonizing public space. Thus, on June 8, Lush arranges an “Ethical Break”, an unprecedented meeting in the form of a talk – to be announced on the brand’s YouTube channel, in France.
Finally, each Lush store has a dedicated letter intended for elected representatives, which customers can sign (a letter written by Mémoires et Partages for France, Change ASBL for Belgium and Lëtz Rise Up for Luxembourg). The mobilization also takes place online through the hashtag # Decolonisons2022, which Lush invites to convey massively to create the debate and challenge elected officials on this issue. Three petitions have also been launched, one per land, to ask the municipalities to initiate the renewal of the public space.