“I was excited to find y’all on here. Wish you backed the blue though.”
That was the comment posted on one of our social media feeds. Because we chose to brew a beer that supports an organization working for social justice and equality for people of color doesn’t mean we don’t “back the blue”.
What it means is that we acknowledge there is a disproportionate number of people of color targeted and killed every year unjustly. As one of our customers said recently, “They can take their blue uniform off every night, we can’t take off the color of our skin.”
Police work is hard. We both have friends who are/were police officers. We both have witnessed good people with great intentions for taking the oath to protect and serve become cynical and jaded by the challenges of their job.
We know the problem is much deeper and more complicated which makes having dialog very difficult and often uncomfortable. The conversation has to include trauma and the results of trauma, unequal opportunities — from health care and education or socioeconomic — despite civil rights laws, microagressions as well as blatant racism. If you’re white having this discussion, you would have empathy and be willing to walk a mile in the shoes of any person of color in this county to even begin to understand. It ain’t fun. Nor is it easy or simple.
We do not believe police departments should be abolished. There is a need for law enforcement. There is not a need for unjust law enforcement. Police and fire fighters, much like teachers, don’t make enough for the daily sacrifices they (and their families) make.
There is room to be better. Much better. Excessive force should only ever be employed when absolutely nothing else is working.
Our country should have better ways to deal with trauma healing, mental illness and substance abuse. From there, we can take the conversation into economic, social and even environmental justice… for ALL regardless of skin color or uniform color.
As Seth Godin said, “When people deprive others of education and opportunity, they’re not helping themselves, they’re depriving themselves of the benefits that would end up contributing. We don’t benefit from treating others poorly, we pay for it.”
This binary, dualistic thinking posted on our social media that because we brewed Black Is Beautiful we don’t support police is, frankly bullshit. Quit making assumptions. Few things in life are absolute besides death and change. There’s room for love even in the most challenging places.
We don’t have answers. We’re brewing and selling beer, trying to understand and speaking up. It’s not self-righteous, though some who fear change may perceive it as such. If our choice of participating in this collaboration allows for an opportunity to start contemplating these challenging issues, wonderful. It certainly has for us. We believe the path to make America great isn’t through discrimination, inequality, and injustice. Quite the opposite. If you chose to not support a business that stands for respect and dignity for all, that’s your choice. Our choice will continue to stand and speak up for social, economic, and environmental justice for all.