To our customers, friends & family.
Like you, I am saddened, hurt, and pained by all that has taken place over the last week across our country. The unnecessary and brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police has brought to light the grave system inequalities and racial injustice that continue to pervade our country. The country is understandably grieving and in touch with the rage that many in our communities have felt for decades. We all have a strong desire to get back to ‘normal.’ Though this is understandable, we can’t do that anymore. ‘Normal,’ it turns out, had the worst consequences for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and thousands of others. I was in my early twenties when police attacked Rodney King. That was 28 years ago, and I somehow convinced myself that bringing that to light would by itself improve things. It didn’t. We have to find and build a new future that actually is inclusive and fair, rather than just assuming the future will take care of it for us. Things will feel normal again only when we own this reality: that African Americans are held to a different standard by our justice system than others, often with the worst consequences imaginable. What can we do?
- Listen: I want to hear from you. What are you doing in these circumstances, and what can Bellwether do to help? Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Talk: As uncomfortable as this may be, we have to talk to each other, our families, friends, and everyone willing to listen. Most of all we need to talk to people who don’t want to listen.
- Give: I, along with Bellwether employees, have donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, Black Lives Matter, Black Earth Farms, and the Equal Justice Initiative, which was founded by Bryan Stevenson in 1989. Bryan’s view is that to move forward, we have to own the past, as horrific as it is. He was instrumental in building the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the first memorial to the legacy of enslaved black people.
- Hold ourselves accountable: We need to look ourselves in the mirror, and Bellwether is doing just that right now. I like to think we’ve built an inclusive company that gives diverse voices a place to be heard but, are we really inclusive? Or do we just say we are? I know we’re not doing enough, and this will change.
I’ll be meeting with our company leaders tomorrow to discuss what specific actions we will take as a company. I look forward to sharing this progress with you in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead. This is not a problem that will be solved overnight, but we will be holding ourselves accountable to being the change we want to see.
Thank you for listening.
Nathan Gilliland CEO, Bellwether Coffee