This weekend, St. Louisans can support area activists working to end police brutality against Black people by purchasing baked goods from some of the city's best pastry chefs.
On Sun., June 7 from 10am to 2pm, "Bakers for Black Lives" will be set up on Vino Gallery's patio, serving up baked goods to raise money for St. Louis activist groups such as ArchCity Defenders, Campaign Zero and STL Mutual Aid. All proceeds from the sales will go a selection of related organizations.
The idea comes from bakers Hannah Kerne, formerly of Vicia, and Sharon Harter of The Bellwether and Polite Society. The friends and roommates were standing outside of a Whole Foods, emotionally exhausted from the current state of things, and the two felt the urgency to become involved in some way. The idea started with the thought, "Why don't we just make cookies?"
"We just figured, 'Why don't we just do the only thing we know?' This is how we communicate love to people," Kerne says. "Why not use that to spread some joy, raise awareness and raise money? So we're trying to do all of those things right now."
The original concept evolved when Harter suggested bringing in more local bakers. Now, Bakers for Black Lives will also feature acclaimed St. Louis pastry chefs like Tyler "Tai" Davis of Alchemy Bakery and Meaghan Coltrain, formerly of Niche Food Group, both of whom will be auctioning off cakes to raise money for the cause. The auction will take place in person and via live stream, so even those who cannot make it out to the event will still have a chance to take home some deliciousness. St. Louis baker Shimon Otsuka will not only be bringing plenty of baked goods for sale, but he also designed and is making several stencils of a logo commonly associated with Black Lives Matter. The stencils will be used to decorate goods, but they will also be for sale.
Kerne and Harter say that other companies have been reaching out to donate goods for sale, with all proceeds going to the cause. Expect to find coffee from Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Co., ice cream from Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream and assorted treats from plenty of other local bakers.
"This has just turned into a really huge thing," Kerne says.
In order to raise awareness and funds while staying safe, the organizers ask everyone to social distance and to wear a mask. The event also ends at 2pm to give time for those who are involved to make their way to a planned protest Sunday afternoon in St. Louis. The event may even feature a station for making posters for the protest.
After this Sunday's bake sale, the organizers hope to host a similar event multiple times this month with a larger event culminating on June 19, known as Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
"We want people to walk away and build on this, more empowered to be involved in racial justice outside of buying a cookie," Kerne says.
Editor's note: This post has been updated to correct the spelling of Hannah Kerne's name and Shimon Otsuka's affiliation.
Bakers for Black Lives, facebook.com/events/3882602251812489/