A letter for our Good Coffee team, but available for all

A letter for our Good Coffee team, but available for all

As I sit and write this the day June 10, 2020 — Portland, along with the rest of the nation is mourning the effects of racism, the evil of racism and pushing for love and for change to win out. We at Good Coffee want to stand in solidarity with this movement and with our nation’s (and city’s) black communities. In an effort to share how we are standing… and how we will look forward to continuing to stand (the work will not end soon) — I felt it appropriate to just share some of the conversation we’ve had internally at Good Coffee by making a letter written to our staff available to (you) the public.

The letter in its full form is available below.

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Good Coffee Team,

After sitting in this week, sitting with so many emotions — heartbreak for our black communities, the world they face, still unyielding in its injustices; shame for the system we live in, built to benefit some and not others; resolve towards the need for all (us specifically) to stand against racism and for love — in both word and deed. The time for sitting with emotions has passed… I wanted to write to you.

Incredibly heartbreaking times right now. And signs of hope as well. I think much (that is valuable) has been said at large and so I’ll cut to the chase. While all words are imperfect to address the incredible inequities that our black community has dealt with to date — we are in a moment where we must do more. Change is never enough until we live in a world (create a world) where these injustices no longer exist.

I know that we’re all addressing these issues personally at different levels but I want to speak to how we can (and are) addressing these issues together.

In love — Racism is evil. Racism alters the heart (it bends the heart). Love heals the heart. Each day one of our BIGGEST opportunities is to show love — to use our actions, our words and our cafe spaces to show love. To value and humanize people. This looks harder than it used to be with masks and distancing and the like. But welcoming our guests, our communities of color, is one of the most impactful ways we can fight for change in a world that is struggling with bent hearts. Every time someone (in our world) tells another person of color a lie about who they are, as a community we must fight these lies by telling the TRUTH. Though pieces of the world spew lies, I challenge each of us to find ways (in this time — but in every other time from this day forward ) to stand with our black communities by making sure that when they step inside our doors, that we speak the TRUTH: that they are valuable, fully deserving of justice, beautiful and loved.

With resources — Love creates change and so does properly allocated resources. In addition to the work Good Coffee invests in locally, this week we chose to invest at a national level — in the Black Lives Matter Global Fund, In the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and in the George Floyd Memorial Fund. While I challenge each of us to continue finding ways to give as individuals I want to let you know that the work we do, we do together, and when we give, we give together.

Investing locally: As you are aware we’ve had the privilege for some time to support two projects (through COMMON GOOD) run by our friends and heroes — Kali Ladd who runs KairosPDX, and Terry Johnson who runs Open School. The work of Kairos PDX and Open School has been transformative in Portland and is achieving real change in fighting the effects of racism and inequity. We are fortunate (as a group) to be able to use our gifts (sourcing coffee, blending coffee, making coffee) to support these organizations through a combination of dollars & storytelling. We will continue to support organizations like these together.

I want to close by saying that we live in a world which requires healing one heart at a time. This means that our work, and the work of all who choose to participate in healing is far from over. This week I’ve received many messages from customers, friends and fans alike of ways we (at Good Coffee) can continue to push for change and show love. Personally I am poignantly aware of the fact that much work lies ahead — in a week where I have come face to face (again) with the shame of understanding that I live in a system from which I benefit due to a long history of inequity. And that my black friends, our black customers and our black community in Portland still live in a system that in their hearts (everyday) creates fear, chaos and shattering.

It’s with this understanding that we move forward, working now, but not losing sight of the marathon of work that lies ahead.

I want to close by saying that in the midst of all this I was deeply moved by some words that Kali Ladd (again of KairosPDX), a hero to me for her leadership and perspective, shared recently with SEI. I would encourage each of you to read the transcript posted here by Portland Monthly. Kali’s words are a lighting rod of hope and calling. I pray that together (at Good Coffee) we can answer this calling to work towards change in our communities, our city and our world.

With love,

Sam Purvis & Nick Purvis

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