Saving the World with Chocolate
Racial Injustices and the Colors of Chocolate
Saving the World with Chocolate
It is time to do more.
When I first started Laughing Gull Chocolates, I boldly claimed – and naively believed – that I was going to save the world with chocolate. In part, it was likely this idealism and drive that attracted my partners Karla and Allison to Laughing Gull Chocolates. As a business, we have figured out how to do all the right things. We work with direct trade and transparently traded chocolate, locally sourced ingredients and we have created local partnerships; we give back, raise awareness about inequities. It’s not enough.
It is time to do more. Staying silent is no longer an option.
In the time of COVID-19 we are raising money for FoodLink and Willow Domestic Violence Center. Our virtual workshops resulted in less isolation for small facets of our communities – (stay tuned for our upcoming blog post on chocola’j). This week, we are giving back to teachers and nurses with virtual workshops.
Still, It’s not enough.
Can love truly trump hate?
Laughing Gull Chocolates was conceived because of the history of inequities around and exploitation for chocolate. Since our inception, we’ve facilitated educational workshops and bring up these issues… but all too often skirt around them.
It’s time to get political. Chocolate and race? They are implicitly intertwined. Historically, we’ve tried to find the right balance of the truth of the injustices and ensuring people have a good time. We believe good chocolate is to be enjoyed and want people to have fun. But this is the moment for disruption. This is the time to address the root of the problem.
How can we be a part of the solution? We don’t know exactly, but we know we have to act and speak out against racism. So we will start with what we know best: the ways in which the chocolate industry has contributed and continues to contribute to systemic racism. Over the coming months we will announce actions but we start here, with a chocolate event that will guide participants through a tasting and discussion of the inherent racism in the chocolate industry. And we’re going to get political. And it may be uncomfortable. Through that discomfort we will seek growth. Learn the bittersweet story with us. 100% of proceeds will go to the Center for Teen Empowerment, which empowers youth-led social change, specifically through “Solutions not Suspensions” and the “Youth Police Dialogue Project.”
What else can we do? I’ve been reading and listening and working with youth for years. Seeing all the hashtags. And it’s time to do more. For too long I have felt helpless and that helplessness, in spite of outrage, has resulted in inaction. No more. Silence is complacency.
What else can we do? This is a question for you, our friends, our community. Are you a teacher? Help us challenge the eurocentric school curricula and partner with us to teach a chocolate unit with your class virtually. (Yes, we always include tasting chocolate)! Purchase our upcoming chocolate bars and the proceeds will go directly to the Center for Teen Empowerment. Join us for this class and learn how chocolate is woven into the story of the oppression of people of color and the marginalized. Not interested in chocolate? Check out this article about other ways to fight for racial justice. Tell your network about our chocolate, our tastings that donate to these key orgs, and the multitude of other resources. We want to take action against racism.
Because silence is complicit.
So. Saving the world with chocolate. Is it possible? Probably not. Are we going to keep trying? You bet we are. For as long as we have chocolate.
*This event was held in 2021 and raised around $200 for the Center for Teen Empowerment!*
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