Koinonia is derived from a Greek word representing a joint participation, a fellowship in a community with a shared opinion which may include an amicable disagreement. This sense of community is what inspired this wrap, designed for the Babywearers of Color by the artist Alisa DeMarco, owner of Tekhni. The colors and the design represent the people for whom the wrap was created and embody the very sense of community the word Kiononia represents.
A Babywearers of Color Exclusive
The Babywearers of Color is a Facebook Group of like minded babywearers, created to provide a safe place for people of color, and their allies, to discuss parenting and most of all to share the adventure and seek the advice of other babywearers. The creators of the group sought to find a place where people of marginalized racial and ethnic groups could discuss the issues they face at the hands of the world at large. This includes issues of overt aggression toward people of color from the racially insensitive, the homophobic, the transphobic, the sexist, and the blatant racist. The community strives to promote awareness of issues surrounding microaggressive speech, action, and thought while encouraging allies to face racial and gender based privilege to broaden their horizons and prevent microaggressive behaviors. The babywearers of color chose the name Koinonia to represent what the community they built represents.
About the Wrap
The right and reverse side of the wrap features a cylindrical columns with diagonal lines to create large, open, triangles representing the delta symbol in the Greek alphabet. Spaced within the large deltas are solid white deltas on the right side, and solid red, black, and brown on the reverse side. The delta character plays an important part in the design of the wrap indicating change, represented in the changing attitudes toward tolerance and racial equality we aspire to see in the world. The reverse side is dominant white with the solid deltas in colors red, black, and light brown scattered within the larger open white deltas. The right side is a gradient of color from vibrant red to black to warm taupe before sloping into bright white.
What we like about Delta Koinonia
A Repreve blend is always a favorite of mine. The ability to leave a smaller footprint, encourage air flow, and maintain the softness of cotton makes Repreve a favorite fiber. Being made from recycled plastic bottles does make this a special care fiber. Plastic does melt in extreme heat so ironing, if needed, on a wool setting is best to maintain optimal conditions for the recycled threads. Being predominately cotton, the wrap is soft and ready to snuggle after the first wash. It doesn’t take much wear to soften, making it ideal for even a newborn. True to the usual Tekhni standard, the support in Delta Koinonia is ideal for the heavy toddler and accommodated my wiggly dancing girls easily. The wrap is wide at 28 inches, allowing for a very deep seat and full coverage of baby’s back. There is a mild amount of diagonal stretch, allowing an extra scant inch or so of wrap at the shallow tails.
Testing back carries, front carries, multilayered carries, as well as a three layered back carries gave a good impression of wrapping qualities and heat retention. We found that the three layered back carry was mildly heat retentive in the 116F (46.5C) temperatures but the two layered Short Back or Reinforced Rucksack carries were very comfortable in the extreme heat. There was a good deal of glide to the wrap with a minimal amount of grip. This meant precision tightening as in a Poppins or Robins Hip Carry was easy but did require extra attention to tightening a chest pass in a Double Hammock. The loose chest pass was easily compensated with a saltwater finish, adding style and tightening up the slack in the pass. Adding a shoulder flip in a Front Reinforced Torso Rebozo helped with precision tightening. The shoulders were comfortable in either spread or sandwiched arrangement with the sandwiched shoulders being almost pillowy. A one shouldered Hip Carry was an easy short wear carry with a 25 pound toddler where the reinforced Poppins or Robins Hip Carry were more comfortable.
Making a Statement
As a woman I am most frequently seen and judged by those around me with what our society holds to be the traditional role of woman. As a woman of color and passionate babywearer, I have been approached, often by the babywearing undereducated, and asked where I am from. The assumption is that I must not be American. I am made of very stern stuff, not easily offended, and reply that babywearing is a tradition around the globe, historically women of all cultures practice some form of carrying their babies in woven cloth. I have often been asked if I plan to teach my babies “my language” when they are older. I smile, recalling the inappropriate comments all babywearers encounter, and simply reply I am actively teaching them the language of love, a language between Momma and baby personified by wearing them.
I deflect what are genuinely hurtful comments from people who don’t think. They don’t think that their comments are hurtful, they don’t think they are being offensive. When confronted with what they believe to be benign comments, informing them that their behavior has diminutized me and my children into a little box that makes them comfortable, they become aggressive, hostile, and confrontational. Suddenly I am the one giving offense because I chose to confront them with the obvious, their lack of education of things beyond their small sphere.
For me, this wrap embodies a community of people who understand what these and other challenges are. They appreciate the point of view I share. They are kindred. The literal Greek translation is an act toward building a community, striving toward an innate goodness of spirit, a virtue extending into a social relationship. I apply this definition to what the Babywearers of Color truly personify. Babywearing is what brings us together, it is the activity we all share, we all love. I am a Babywearer of Color, proud to stand tall, wearing my babies in a wrap that makes a statement of who I am and what I stand for.
Want to learn more? Start here:
- How to Be an Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege
- Why Acknowledging That Racism Exists Isn’t the Same as Being Anti-Racist
- Dear Parents of White Children: For Whites (Like Me): On White Kids
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Babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding twin Momma sharing my insights.