On July 1, 2020 I sent out this essay I wrote to my email list: Decolonizing Chocolate at The Xocolate Bar
The response has been heartwarming. Even Dr. Amie Breeze Harper aka Sistah Vegan voiced her support. I do recognize I am preaching to the choir, but my intention is set and the work starts now. I wanted to start a blog to chart my progress because I don’t know if people realize that the solution is not instantaneous.
Chocolate has been a colonial product since Spaniards took it from Mayans and Aztecs in 1524. Cocoa production has involved West African slavery since the first commercial production in the late 19th century. Child slavery in cocoa production is still a problem to this day. That is 496 years of problems which I can’t solve overnight with one email. But I have to try. This is the “forever work” that anti-racism requires.
Is this even possible in the time of corona?
Right now it is trickier than ever to transport temperature sensitive goods across borders. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use this down time to lay the foundation for future operations. The pandemic has shoved us into the direction of e-commerce more quickly than we had planned. I see it as hastening an inevitable shift. The question is how do we make ecommerce work in a way that is sustainable for people and the environment in the long run?
In the words of Isidore Dharma Douglass Skinner, age 15, descendent of abolitionist Frederick Douglass: “Pessimism is a tool of White oppression...We are still slaves to the notion that it will never get better...Change is possible, change is probable, and there is hope.”