Originally published on 6/26/20.
Please read our complete statement here.
Moving forward, we will use this space to provide updates about the follow-up to our commitments. We understand that our words are only as valuable as our actions. Therefore, we intend to make substantive changes in our behavior, our practices, and how we support our broader community to contribute to meaningful solutions to systemic racial inequality. We commit to:
- To examine our own implicit biases and how they impact our practices and processes.
- To contribute our time and money to organizations working to correct injustice, end violence, and provide opportunities to Black people and people of color.
- To be accountable to ourselves and our coffee community to share our progress.
To start, we have reflected internally on our actions and considered our sphere of influence. Each small team at Atlas met to discuss our thoughts and hopes about racial equity at our company and in the specialty coffee industry, and we then formed a working group and sub-groups to make progress on the following actions:
- Internal education such as implicit bias and anti-racism training. We're currently engaged in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training.
- External education for coffee professionals, including the role of colonialism on supply chains
- To begin the process, we started with internal education with academics such as Erika Koss (read her article "Coffee & Colonialism 101" in Barista Magazine's September 2020 Issue), Dr. Sarah Grant, and Dr. Casey Lurtz, who recommended this overview of global coffee history.
- Increasing representation and amplifying BIPOC coffee professionals' voices by providing development opportunities and partnering with organizations already working to promote racial equity in specialty coffee.
- We're proud of Atlas Green Sales Representative Tymika Lawrence's work as a Founding Board Member of the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity.
- Our work and values are supported by our global partners within the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG). The NKG Partnership to Advance Coffee Equity (NKG PACE), created in close cooperation with the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity, was announced in June 2021 and launched in May 2022. NKG PACE is a world-class training program offering members of the Black community — a group that experiences the largest gap in employment and decision-making roles in the US coffee industry — opportunities to become green-coffee quality specialists. The first cohort of NKG PACE Partners are currently living, learning, and working in QC--Porttia Portis is part of our team at our office in Seattle, Charles Umeano is working for NGUS in Hoboken, and Jayy Terrell joined the group at InterAmerican Coffee in San Diego.
- As a sponsor of Glitter Cat Barista, we support their anti-racism commitments and Business Accountability Project.
- Other ongoing efforts include an internal "Racial Equity Multi-Media Club," community service projects, and work to support our BIPOC roaster clients further.
Here are some of the things that we are reading, watching, and listening to now to learn from and support Black voices in specialty coffee:
- Michelle Johnson's "Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities" at Re:co in Seattle, 2018, and as always, following The Chocolate Barista, where she focuses on "the promotion of racial diversity and inclusivity in the specialty coffee industry one black cup at a time."
- Black coffee podcasts on Spotify compiled by Kendra Sledzinski
- "Strong Black Coffee" by Phyllis Johnson and her new book The Triumph: Black Brazilians in Coffee.
- Royal Coffee's "Race and Specialty Coffee" webinar, led by Candice Madison and Phyllis Johnson
- These inspiring 2020 US Coffee Championships performances by Independent USBrC competitor Kristina Jackson (video from Nashville Qualifiers) and USBC competitors Adam JacksonBey for Tell Coffee, Michelle Johnson for Red Bay Coffee, and USBC Finalist Anthony Ragler of Black & White Coffee Roasters!
- Episode 4 of the SCA's Roundtable Series: Black CEOs in specialty coffee had a coffee-focused conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement, their experiences as Black professionals in the coffee sector, and what work is required to dismantle systemic racism in the coffee space and the wider culture.
- Coffee People Zine's Issue 10, featuring work exclusively by Black creatives in the coffee community; Executive Editor Korie "KP" Pickett.
Here are some ways that you can support Black voices in specialty coffee:
- Gather your coffee equipment for Getchu Some Gear: Donating Coffee Gear to Marginalized Baristas
- Explore Sprudge's Support These Black-Owned Coffee Businesses, "an updating list of Black-owned coffee businesses you can support now," and Support These Black-Owned Coffee Fundraisers.
- Engage with the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity, "the coffee industry's accountability partners in advancing efforts towards racial equity," and participate in a webinar.
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