Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the day “November 25, 2011”

Occupy Starbucks

I know I am going to get into trouble for this post. Most people reading Left Coast Voices are more likely to drink their daily sin under a Starbucked notice than the green mermaid (or whoever she is). Yes I have stuck up for Starbucks in the past, but I have also been critical where I believe it apt.

And yes,I know it is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, but a lot of the discussions around my family table were political and depressing. So let’s give a shout out for something positive, whoever is behind it.

Today, I want to highlight the positive. Many have commented on this blog that they want to see more concrete steps coming out of the Occupy Movement, steps that will impact the 1% or help the 99%. Bank Transfer Day was a great example (and its not too late!).

Starbucks have seeded money for a project called Create Jobs for USA. Starbucks have teamed up with Opportunity Finance Network® which is a group of community lending institutions who will help to finance jobs within the community. 

When we buy a wristband at Starbucks stores or online for a minimum of $5, these institutions will generate 7x the amount. In other words for every $5 we donate, $35 will be generated and invested in small business, affordable housing, commercial real estate, micro-enterprises, and non-profits.

Yes, those of us seriously Starbucked can find a way of being cynical, of showing how this is a sophisticated marketing move by the company. But right now there are thousands of people without jobs who are losing their dignity and their hope for a better life. 9.1% of the labor force, translates into 13.1% of the Hispanic community, and 16.7% of the African-American community. I am sure the numbers are worse when analyzed by geographical dispersion.

Let’s put our differences aside. Let’s ally with Starbucks and the Opportunity Finance Network® and help people get back to work in meaningful community businesses. On the bracelet is the word Indivisible. The logo has the word on an US flag. 

We don’t need to wait for government. The American people are strongest when we work together…when we are indivisible.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

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