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The Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity (CCRE) hosts inaugural event

Phyllis Johnson, founder of CCRE, reflected on the event's success: "While we celebrate tonight's success, our focus remains steadfast on the challenges that lie ahead." said Phyllis Johnson, founder and board chair of CCRE. "This event is just the beginning of our renewed efforts to pave a more inclusive path in the coffee industry. We invite everyone to join us in this mission by supporting our initiatives through donations at pledge.to/coffeeforequity. Your contributions will help us continue to make a meaningful impact"

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CHICAGO, IL, USA – This past Saturday night, April 13, 2024, during the Specialty Coffee Association Expo 2024, marked a historic moment for the coffee industry. The Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity (CCRE) hosted its inaugural “The First Sip” event at The Bronzeville Winery in Chicago. This event gathered like-minded professionals and enthusiasts and was a platform to honor significant contributors to diversity and inclusion in the coffee industry.

The evening’s highlight was the presentation of three distinguished awards, each honoring black trailblazers in coffee:

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  • Local Hero Award
    Greg Stivers of Stivers Coffee, a veteran of the Chicago coffee scene for nearly four decades, was honored with the Local Hero Award. As a true pioneer in the industry, he has consistently pushed boundaries and set new standards. He has earned his peers’ admiration and respect and fostered a significant business relationship with Chicago French Press, a Black woman-owned coffee company. This showcases his commitment to supporting diverse local businesses and enriching the community. To explore Stivers Coffee’s offerings, please visit Stivers Coffee. https://stiverscoffee.com/
  • Innovators Award
    CxffeeBlack was awarded the prestigious Innovators Award for its groundbreaking work creating an innovative Barista exchange program. The program is a testament to a vision and commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within the coffee industry, setting a new standard for collaboration and mutual learning. To discover more about CxffeeBlack’s innovative projects and their impact on the coffee community, please visit CxffeeBlack. https://cxffeeblack.com/
  • Rose Nicaud Award
    Michelle R Johnson was awarded the prestigious Rose Nicaud Award for her significant impact and advocacy in the coffee industry. From co-founding her own Oat Milk brand, Ghosttown Oats, to penning an open letter addressing the systemic challenges Black baristas face, her efforts have sparked meaningful dialogue and led to positive changes in the coffee industry. To learn more about her initiatives and Ghosttown Oats’ products, please visit Ghosttown Oats. https://www.ghosttown.world/

The evening included a soul-stirring performance by Emcee Propaganda, aka Prop also a coffee professional and owner of Terraform Cold Brew. https://terraformcoldbrew.com/ His performance added a vibrant layer of engagement and highlighted the creative intersection of culture and social advocacy within the coffee community. For more about his work, visit Propaganda’s website. https://www.prophiphop.com/

“The First Sip” served as a platform to recognize and celebrate these exceptional individuals’ invaluable contributions while highlighting the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the coffee community. The event brought together industry leaders, enthusiasts, and advocates, fostering dialogue and collaboration toward a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

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“The First Sip” was a celebration of achievements and a successful fundraiser. These funds will support CCRE’s ongoing initiatives, which include scholarships, internships, and a new podcast, “Brewing in Equity,” which aims to deepen the dialogue around racial equity in the coffee industry.

Generous support from our sponsors was crucial to the success of “The First Sip.” We extend our heartfelt thanks to Pete’s Coffee & Tea, Margaret Swallow of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, Fellow Products, Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company, BD Imports, Andi Trindle-Mersch, Little Waves Coffee Roasters, and Starbucks.

Phyllis Johnson, founder of CCRE, reflected on the event’s success: “While we celebrate tonight’s success, our focus remains steadfast on the challenges that lie ahead.” said Phyllis Johnson, founder and board chair of CCRE. “This event is just the beginning of our renewed efforts to pave a more inclusive path in the coffee industry. We invite everyone to join us in this mission by supporting our initiatives through donations at pledge.to/coffeeforequity. Your contributions will help us continue to make a meaningful impact.”

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