The recent events of racial injustice have been a wake up call that frankly, we shouldn’t have needed. We’ve let down the Black community for too long, and that must stop. Since pledging our support to Black Lives Matter, our team has spent the last week listening, working to educate ourselves and reflecting on where we have fallen short.
Trade believes in making better brewing accessible to more people and in connecting people to local communities to help support them. But we hadn’t yet examined what that meant on a deeper level nor understood how that couldn’t be achieved with systemic racism in place. Our industry and our company have failed to be sufficiently inclusive or representative. We own that, and recognize the privilege that got us here means we have a responsibility to do better.
Change will come from taking actions that are real, tangible, and enduring. To that end, we are sharing three actions we are putting into motion right away. This is only the start, while we take the time to develop long-term strategies and engage deeper with BIPOC in specialty coffee about what more we can do to make the industry a more equitable place.
1. Start from Within
We are committed to developing a plan to make diversity and inclusion a part of our DNA. At a brand level this means re-evaluating our values, mission and guiding principles, and in practice, would guide our recruiting, hiring and training. We intend to learn, listen, then act purposefully.
As a step in that direction, we’re making an investment of our time and resources to establish quarterly dedicated days of service, where our team will work hand-in-hand with organizations that are creating change in our greater New York City community.
2. Champion Inclusion + Amplify Diverse Voices
For the growth needed to advance in the specialty coffee industry, BIPOC should have equal access to knowledge and experience. To help advance that effort, we are looking to partner with an existing organization that provides training and education in advanced levels of coffee. We are just starting outreach and discussions, and will provide updates as details come together.
At the same time, we will use our platform to amplify and celebrate a diverse group of talent within specialty coffee. Representation matters, and we need to be proactive to achieve it. In addition to using our own networks, we will seek out a wider range of contributors via open sourcing — if you are or know someone who is BIPOC doing interesting things in coffee, please email [email protected].
3. Advocate Social Justice Locally
As a start, we made a donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to support the fight for racial justice. But, we want to make giving back and advocacy a sustainable part of what we do. Our brand is nothing without local roasters, and their communities are our communities, so that is where we will focus our efforts.
We created Come Together Coffee, an exclusive collection of coffee, with roasters to raise donations for local causes impacted by COVID-19. To expand its purpose, in the coming months, we will evolve the initiative, under a new name, to partner with roasters and local nonprofits that are focused on social justice to raise money and give a voice to the causes and those who benefit from them.
As we’re learning and finding our path, we welcome your feedback, thoughts and ideas. Send an email to [email protected].