Like many of you, I am appalled by what we’ve seen lately. Systematic police brutality against Black Americans. The militarization of our police forces. Institutionalized racism and injustice against people of color that COVID has exposed in healthcare, education, etc.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new. (I have vivid memories of the scary, painful days following the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles, 1992).
Still, I am optimistic. I am optimistic that peaceful protests and an impending election could be catalysts for positive change. And I’m inspired by our team at Benson. It takes enormous resilience and mental fortitude to counsel clients during times like these.
As we search for our own voices on these issues, on what concrete steps we can take, I wanted to at least start by sharing some resources we and our industry partners should consider.
Of course, this list is not complete or exhaustive. But that’s not the point. The point is to start a process. At Benson we are working out plans for potential partnerships and resources aimed at supporting the causes we support.
- Support changes in policing in the cities you do business. Gather fellow business owners together and write letters to your Mayor, city council, and other decision makers.
- Partner and support Black-owned purveyors and businesses in your community.
- McBride Sisters Collection listed Black-owned wineries here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CA_WzjlA9rn/
- VinePair provided lists here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBBcv_Jhre4/
- Wine Enthusiasts’ compilation is here: https://www.winemag.com/2020/06/05/black-owned-food-beverage-directory/
- Highlight the businesses on your social media pages with links; feature in your content streams.
- Share links and information highlighting books, movies, articles that audience can read to learn about racism in US.
- Support organizations that extend wine education opportunities to people of color.
- Julia Coney and Black Wine Professionals: https://www.instagram.com/blackwineprofessionals/
- Support Black somms, influencers, winemakers, distillers and associations. Feature these on your social channel, advertisements, in programs, wine dinners.
- Include diversity in photo shoots for your brand.
- Share links of national organizations to support.
- Host events that feature Black wine professionals in high-visibility roles.
- Share links and information highlighting books, movies, articles created by Black wine professionals.
- Cultivate a diverse workforce by participating in recruiting that draws talent from diverse backgrounds. Chances are, you can’t have a diverse team if you’re maintaining the same recruitment tactics. There is a LOT of work to be done here.
- Invest in resources to educate employees and management on racism (unconscious bias training for your tasting room team, for example). https://www.ted.com/playlists/250/talks_to_help_you_understand_r
- Implement training that addresses racism:
- Match donations from employees to list of organizations.
Organizations to Support
George Floyd Memorial Fund: This memorial fund is established to cover funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings, and to assist Floyd’s family. Donate here.
Minnesota Freedom Fund: Combats the harms of incarceration by paying bail for low-income individuals who cannot. The Minnesota Freedom Fund has raised $20m and is asking that future donations be routed to Black Visions Collective and Reclaim The Block. Donate here.
Black Visions Collective: Aims to create the conditions for long term success and transformation for all Black people. They believe in a future where all Black people have autonomy and where safety is community-led. Donate here.
Reclaim The Block: Organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety. Donate here.
National Bail Out: Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers and activists building a community-based movement to support and end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration. Donate here.
Black Lives Matter: Movement and ongoing fight to end state-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy. Donate here.
Bail Project: National nonprofit organization that pays bail for people in need, reuniting families and restoring the presumption of innocence.Their goal is to secure freedom for as many people as possible and fuel momentum for equal justice. Donate here.
National Bail Fund Network: Made up of over sixty community bail and bond funds across the country. They regularly update their listing of community bail funds that are freeing people by paying bail/bond and are also fighting to abolish the money bail system and pretrial detention. Donate here.