In every waking hour since the death of George Floyd, we’ve been engrossed in a movement that’s grown wings the like we haven’t seen in our lifetimes. This is a movement that has the power to bring about the change this country has needed.
Canyon is a small team. It’s us partner/owners (Ally, Casey and James) and a small team of freelancers and friends who have been there to help us as we continue growing.
As individuals, we’ve all been listening, watching, reading, protesting, donating, having conversations, and sharing information and resources. While we’ve always been people firmly on the side of people over profit, advocates for social, economic, and environmental justice, dreamers of a society where no person is discriminated against, harassed, profiled, and yes—killed—because of the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual orientation… this moment has led us to reflect: how can we go from being allies in word to allies in action? How can we live, give, breathe and exist as anti-racists?
As we’ve learned from the words of James Baldwin and MLK, Jr., it is the apathetic white person—not the outwardly racist person—who stands in the way of real change. Because the truth of this society is, matter-of-factly, that it was built to establish and protect the wealth and property of white men. Basic rights for women, people of color, people of non-heterosexual orientation, have all had to be fought for tooth and nail. What’s most exciting about this movement is just how many “typical,” heretofore non-activist white people are finally saying “I care.” “We care.” And this is all possible, of course, because of years upon years of work and organizing of countless activists, outspoken Black, Indigenous, people of color and LGBTQIA leaders, all of whom were leading the way—speaking up and sticking their necks out before it was en vogue.
We believe in this movement, and we plan to do what we can to see it through over the long haul using our voices, our dollars, and our votes. Assets come in many forms, and as a small, growing company, we’ve been thinking about the best way to make sustained, meaningful contributions that are authentic and truly helpful to the movement. We want to continue this conversation and continue supporting, indefinitely. Because that’s what it will take from all of us to overcome the oppression inherent in our system. We want to amplify BIPOC voices, and never tokenize them. And we want to do all this because it’s a cause we believe in, not as some calculated marketing decision. Though we understand the logic, we’d simply rather ask you to donate directly to a group like Black Lives Matter than ask you to buy our coffee so we can make the donation for you. As a company, marketing for causes we care about is a delicate line to walk, as the truth of a for-profit business is that they are enterprises that depend on revenue. Of course, to us, our mission at Canyon has always been about so much more than that exchange of products-for-money, and we really believe in and strive to help people enjoy every day a little more.
But the point, today, is to say wholeheartedly that we are in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We will continue to use our assets as individuals to further this movement and the cause of justice everywhere, and we will continue to do the same with our business. We’re excited, as we grow, to be able to give opportunities in the form of jobs, leadership, and ownership to BIPOC folks, we’re excited to be able to make financial contributions to causes we care about, and we’re excited to be creative in making other kinds of contributions to marginalized neighborhoods with our time, skills, and yes: with coffee.
Perhaps most importantly, we’re excited at the awakening of the power we have as people. Of individuals coming together to form a collective voice. It is the PEOPLE, united, who will never be defeated.
Thank you for reading, but thank you more importantly for believing in that dream of a nation that judges people not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character. We encourage everyone to continue learning, speaking up, donating, and taking action.
Artwork by Alicia Nauta, Klassic Koole Shoppe