Oakland, Berkeley, And East Bay News, Events, Restaurants, Music, & Arts
Word! Great article but Alchemy Collective in Berkeley next time! Worker-owned by mostly queer/POC folks.
For real! How is Alchemy Collective not on this list? They've even been a member of EBX's Think Indie Campaign for over a year!
Here are a few reasons why they might deserve to be on this list:
(1) THE SOLIDARITY ECONOMY
Alchemy is 100% worker-owned and 100% democratically run by a squad of predominantly Black, brown, and queer folks.
Alchemy was founded by three low-income baristas who wanted to create dignified careers (and business ownership) for themselves and other working class folks. And that's more impressive than businesses founded by well-meaning well-off investors with predetermined missions who hire members from marginalized groups to execute those missions without giving them real control over the capital they create. Right? Right.
They let community groups host events and fundraisers after hours for FREE. Such groups include Hasta Muerte Coffee, Community Democracy Project (Oakland), Sustainable Economies Law Center, Alipato Project, Justice for My Sister, an art therapy group, an anti-gentrification reading group, and more!
They incubate other worker-owned businesses for free and provide a lot of free emotional labor to houseless folks and other folks in need.
(2) MOVEMENT-ART GALLERY
Months after movement-artist Oree Originol's art show at Alchemy ended, his "Justice for Eric Garner," "Justice for Mike Brown," and "Justice for Sandra Bland" posters remain on Alchemy's windows. They host other local artists every month.
(3) ANTI-GENTRIFICATION AND LOCAL POLITICS
Alchemy is a member of the only business association in Berkeley that fights criminalizing homelessness. Ever aware of the dangerous effects of gentrification, instead of relying on the police, Alchemy established a network of social workers, family members, and neighboring businesses to help de-escalate potentially dangerous conflicts.
(4) NATIONAL POLITICS AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Alchemy joined the national inaugural strike on January 20th. A portion of the proceeds from Alchemy's Snakebite blend goes to Standing Rock. But their #NODAPL efforts don't stop there. Alchemy inspires folks to be more aware and more accountable: To the left of the Alchemy cash register is a list of banks that fund DAPL. To the right of their cash register is a Standing Rock donation box.
Alchemy sources food from the farmer's market, their beans are organic, their take-out stuff is compostable, and they use solar power. They have hosted events about community-owned renewable energy and fundraisers for environmental justice.
(5) COMMUNITY EDUCATION
They provide access to an expensive curated radical book collection to the public even though someone keeps stealing their James Baldwin books. They help resisters of domestic violence by selling the Radical Feminist Coloring Book and distributing "know-your-rights" brochures.
How is Alchemy Collective not on this list?
I suggest a conference specifically geared to local restaurants in the medium price & affordable price ranges to help them buy rather than rent. That way they can transcend rent increases & property ownership changes. They would be the owners.
There are several organizations specializing in these type of programs. We've got to help them target & meet restaurants.
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