Jillian Sassoon, Stephanie Garcia, Lainey Atwood and the bakers at Gusto Bread all have one thing in common.
They all used their skill and passion for baking in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been at the forefront in recent weeks after the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, by joining the Bakers Against Racism fundraiser taking place this week.
Bakers Against Racism is a bake sale taking place virtually all over the world from June 15- 20 with individual proceeds going to organizations that will support the Black community. The effort is led by Chef Paola Velez partner at Dona Dona D.C., Chef Willa Lou Pelini and Chef Rob Rubba of Oyster Oyster in D.C.
The virtual bake sale uses a hashtag with the same name across social media where users can keep track of what bakers across the globe are baking and raising.
One look at the Bakers Against Racism website tells you that, “everyone who wants to see radical change against systemic and structural racism [can participate]. Participants are encouraged to send an email to “mobilize food and sweets into action.”
And so these bakers did.
“I at first thought that having a bake sale for Black lives looked a lot like trying to put a bandaid on a gaping wound,” Sassoon said. “Being white, and doing something cutesy to support this cause, is definitely part of my privilege. But then I thought if I can generate more money using my skills and what I love to do then why shouldn’t I start baking?”
Sassoon, Garcia and Atwood comprise a team of three “Baker Babes,” who work at Scratch Baked Goods in Long Beach, but the bake sale effort is independent. Sassoon noted however that the bakery is letting them use the commercial kitchen to prepare the items on the menu.
The majority of proceeds generated will be donated to The Loveland Foundation.
The foundation was established by Rachel Cargle in 2018 and it provides collaborative resources and initiatives for Black women and girls, including therapy support, according to its website.
“As a mother, this foundation seemed like the right choice,” Sassoon said. “I know that I had access to counseling and more opportunities for higher education because of being white and where I lived. I know my children will have access and security. I want that for all mothers and children.”
Garcia agreed. “Jill [Sassoon] chose this foundation, and after looking into it myself I agreed it was the right organization to contribute to,” she said. “Far too often, Black women are forgotten, silenced, or left out. We need to show up for them and that’s exactly what the Loveland foundation does.”
She added, “By providing Black girls and women with therapy, they are given the chance to heal. Healing comes when we are able to hold grief, love, anger, and sadness all in the same container, and by healing and supporting each other, we create a greater community based on integrity, trust, and honesty. It goes full circle, and if selling a few baked goods can help stop bad things, I am all in.”
As of early morning Tuesday, June 16, Sassoon had counted 10 orders for the bake sale and orders were open until Thursday, June 18.
“I am so proud of my friends and family for placing orders because without them I would not be able to donate as much as I have raised so far,” Garcia, who was anticipating more orders before the Thursday deadline said. “I’d like to thank all of them for placing orders, and I’d like to thank Jill [Sassoon] for approaching me with this amazing opportunity.
On their menu, they listed: chocolate chip & ganache sandwich cookie, blueberry ginger crumble bar, strawberry lemon bars, floral mason jar decorated cookie, cherry tomato & herb garden focaccia loaf; all items were listed under $10, however order minimums stood at $15.
For Arturo Enciso and Ana of Gusto Bread, a Long Beach artisan bakery, the idea was simple: use the skills and goods they already possess to contribute to the local Black Lives Matter Long Beach chapter.
They set a maximum of 150 pre-ordered cookies and completely sold out. According to Gusto’s Instagram post, 100% percent of the proceeds from their whole-grain fig + walnut cookies will be donated “to take a stand against racism, fascism and the unjust treatment of Black people in America.”