The Coffee Industry Must Fight Racial Injustice

Abolition Is A Global Coffee Issue

Given the ongoing backdrop of international protests against police brutality in the US over the last two weeks, we’ve prioritized holding public space for Black voices over that of our own company. We’ve approached our role in the reparative work that needs to happen with what we feel is a necessary quiet—not silence—prioritizing financial aid and personal work over performative allyship. However, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s important that the conversation doesn’t just end.

We stand unified against the systematic violence and oppression of Black people in the US. We stand against police brutality and a corrupt criminal justice system that targets the Black community. We believe our role is to support quietly and attentively and to generate funds in support of the movement because above all else Black Lives Matter

Regarding our public-facing operations during this time, we’ll be working to make sure that in addition to supporting the movement for abolition and racial justice in the US, we continue to support the global communities of indigenous smallholders that make up the bulk of our supply chain partners, which includes selling their coffee and buying as much as we can at as high a price as possible. This work can and will never come at the expense or opposition of Black Americans—these struggles are intertwined and must be supported simultaneously.

Our support did not start last week and it will not end next week. This will not be the work of a single news cycle. It’s a long-term fight and we must stay engaged together and hold ourselves and each other accountable as a community. We understand that this work is not linear and we will never arrive at an end point where we no longer need criticism, accountability, and growth; in addition to the concrete work that must be done, our commitment is to stay engaged, to listen with curiosity and openness over certainty, and to be comfortable with discomfort as we continue to learn and grow in the struggle towards true liberation for all. 

For transparency about the steps we’ve taken and are taking in support of this fight, you can read more here. To learn more about what you can do, here are three meta-resource links sourced from coffee marketer and activist Jenn Chen: 

With you all in strength and commitment,

The Red Fox Team

 

Concrete Actions Against Systemic Racism

Actions speak louder than words. First, our role here is not to promote ourselves or take credit for any support we offer in this fight. With that said, we do need to be transparent and accountable about the actions we’re taking that substantiate our words.

Below is a list of actions we’re taking as a company to aid the international fight against police violence and systemic racism. As we’ve said, we feel our role here is one of financial support, listening, quiet consistent action, and accountability. In that spirit:

  • We are working with the Vilige Project with a donation of green coffee which they will be roasting, selling, and donating 100% of proceeds to the Black-focused organizations of their choosing. 
  • This fight will continue long after immediate donations have been made. Because we want to commit in a sustainable way that this is meaningful and repeatable, we are planning to make a long term annual budgetary commitment to donate in support of Black-led abolition-focused organizations. 
  • In our own organization, we continue to recognize the link between global colonialism and the oppression of Black people, indigenous people, and other groups of color in the US and across the globe and fight it with high prices paid directly to indigenous smallholder communities. We commit to continuing to be ever more critical in our sourcing and aware of the thin line between our work and neocolonialism.
  • In our own organization and as individuals within it, we commit to growth, listening, discomfort, and action. We commit to being aware of and sensitive within our role in this fight and supporting Black voices with white and non-Black dollars. 
  • We support the defunding and abolition of the police and the carceral system of which they are an offshoot and recognize this as a global issue.

We recognize that this is not and never will be enough, and we will never stop looking in the mirror and trying to do better and be better members of our local and global communities.