Over the past very troubling 18 months, America has become increasingly hostile toward refugees and their families seeking to start a new life without living under the threat of violence. For its part, the coffee industry at large has pushed back on these encroaching hyper-nationalist tendencies in an attempt to show that a country of immigrants still welcomes immigrants. Efforts have ranged from nationwide fundraisers for the ACLU and ASAP to simple gestures of making it explicit that their cafe is a safe space for everyone.

And now Berkeley, California’s 1951 Coffee Company is looking to continue the conversation by exploring what it means to be a refugee in coffee in America. Taking place Tuesday July 24th, “Refugees Welcome? Perspectives on Inclusion in Specialty Coffee” will dive into what it means to be a refugee in America and the role the coffee industry has played in the process of resettling.

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According to their website, 1951 Coffee is “a non-profit specialty coffee organization seeking to promote the well-being of the refugee community in the San Francisco Bay Area by providing job training and employment to refugees and asylees while educating the surrounding community about refugee life and issues.” For Refugees Welcome?, 1951 Coffee teamed up with the Bay Area Coffee Community (BACC) to host a panel discussion on “employing refugees in the coffee industry.” Panelists will include graduates of 1951’s barista training program that have gone on to find jobs at Blue Bottle, Dandelion Chocolate, and Mazarine Coffee who will be sharing their experiences as new baristas and new Americans.

After the panel discussion, 1951 Coffee and the BACC will “review some practical ways to implement more inclusive hiring, on-boarding, and training practices.”

Refugees Welcome? Perspectives on Inclusion in Specialty Coffee is free to attend but due to its limited capacity, 1951 Coffee asks that only coffee professionals come to the event. To register for the event, visit the Refugees Welcome? Eventbrite page. For more information, visit their Facebook event page.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image via 1951 Coffee.

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