Everything You Need to Know About the Worldwide Bakers Against Racism Bake Sale

With 3,700 bakers and counting, there's sure to be a participating baker near you.

June 15, 2020

Anyone who has ever picked up a whisk or spatula knows that baking can be a therapeutic experience. Food, especially sweets and other desserts, comfort us on the best — and worst — of days, make us smile when we really need to, and ultimately, bring us together as people. Nobody knows that better than executive pastry chef Paola Velez, pastry chef Willa Lou Pelini and chef Rob Rubba, the founders of Bakers Against Racism, a local bake sale effort that has quickly turned into a global movement aimed at ending racism, fascism and the unjust treatment of Black people in America.

“We are armed to fight racism with the tools we know how to utilize, our FOOD,” the initial call to action, which was released about a week ago on the official @BakersAgainstRacism Instagram account, reads. Since then, the post has been viewed more than 25,000 times and has resulted in an outpouring of support from professional and at-home bakers, chefs and cooks from around the globe.

“Our goal was to get 80 participants to hopefully raise $96k to multiple organizations that support Black Lives,” Velez shares. “Now we’re at 3,700 participants, 16 countries, 170+ cities and 41 states.”

For the last month, Velez has been running the Latin American doughnut popup, Dona Dona to raise money for Ayuda DC, a non-profit organization that provides legal, social and language services to help the immigrant population of DC, Virginia and Maryland.

It was Velez’s work for Ayuda DC that led Pelini to reach out with an idea about holding a similar effort to raise donations for various organizations that support Black Lives Matter. Not long after that, Rubba also joined. The trio then set to work formulating a mission statement and shared their idea with the internet, inviting partners across the nation to hold their own local bake sales under the Bakers Against Racism banner.

“In providing the tools and resources to chefs and home bakers on how to launch a successful popup, we were giving folks the tools to arm themselves to bake for a good cause,” Velez says. These resources include social media graphics designed by Rubba, tips for running a virtual bake sale while staying socially distant and a list of educational podcasts participants, especially non-BIPOC, can listen to while baking.

All bake sale participants will collectively launch presale links for their baked goods on their personal websites or social media platforms today, Monday, June 15th at 2 p.m. as a sign of unity. Curbside pick-ups of the baked goods will then take place on Saturday, June 20th. In accordance with social distance guidelines, it’s suggested that pick up times be prescheduled, customers be directed to stand in a well-distanced line or that bakers set-up tables with labeled bags for contactless retrieval.

All participants have also been asked to donate their proceeds to a charity that fights for racial equality, like the National Bail Fund Network, Black Lives Matter and Communities United Against Police Brutality. They should share the name of their chosen charity and screenshots of their donation receipts (with personal information removed) on their social media accounts with the tag #BakersAgainstRacism on Sunday, June 21st. Donation totals will be calculated through a tracking form, which bakers will recieve via email, and the collective number of donations for each organization will be shared publically next week.

If you’re unable to physically participate because of COVID-19 concerns, sharing the initiative’s goals with friends and family and supporting Black-owned bakeries and businesses in your towns and cities is a great place to begin. “I personally hope to see the conversation change for Black bakers and chefs,” Velez says. “I hope that we are given the opportunities to showcase our talents and to grow. With Bakers Against Racism, we hope to continue to educate and to utilize food as a tool for change.”

For more information about the Bakers Against Racism Movement, please email bakersagainstracism@gmail.com.

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