In June of 2014 we launched a new coffee called “Ugandan Pride” in order to support LGBT rights activists on the ground in Uganda in their fight to overturn an anti-LGBT rights law passed by the national legislature. This year-long project is coming to a close so we thought it would be good to touch base and share the results and our experience with the project. In late 2014 the law was overturned, but there is a movement to reinstate the law and much more general support is needed by those opposing the impulse to legislate bigotry and prejudice in Uganda and in our own country for that matter.
Over the past year we have raised over $5000 for grassroots organizing in Uganda. We will have a final total to report after we calculate May and June sales. The initial payment was sent to the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL). After running into multiple issues getting subsequent payments to CSCHRCL, we took some time to search for a new partner in Uganda. This proved to be incredibly difficult and gave us some insight into the challenges that activists face on the day-to-day in Uganda. Electronic communication was spotty at best and activists we reached out to were suspicious of our offer of backing and suspected a scam in the works.
After reaching out to other US organizations working on these same issues we were put into contact with Spectrum Uganda— a group that came highly recommended to us for their strength and organizational capacity. Spectrum’s mission is to to provide health services to the LGBTI community in Uganda and advocate for the recognition, protection,and actualization of their rights. This is a great fit for the mission of the Ugandan Pride coffee project and we will be transferring over $4000 to the organization this week.
We want to thank everyone who has participated, donated, and supported this project. In the beginning we had some negative feedback– and even lost a few customers– but we were heartened by the overwhelming support we received from the vast majority of our customers and friends. For those who have been with us for a while, you know that the purpose of Ugandan Pride is completely consistent with our approach to our business– we use it to promote and advance the causes and programs of groups who we are politically aligned with. We believe that all businesses should be up front about what they believe and who they support. This is a huge piece of transparent business practices and a democratic economy.
So cheers to all of you for your support and all of our best to Spectrum Uganda, CSCHRCL, and all of the brave people on the ground in Uganda (and elsewhere) fighting for basic human rights and dignity.