Thanks for the continuing support from co-workers, Equal Exchange fans, workers’ rights fans, family and friends. The coffee continues to flow, and the appreciation knows no end. Our signs have become stained with coffee as the people balance their well-crafted signs in one hand, and their fresh hot cup in the other, all the while trying to figure out a way to help the next person prevent the same predicament by helping them fill their cup. Everyone marching outside is cold, everyone appreciates the gesture.
Some of you may notice the cup filled with singles in one of the pictures. At first I refused, we’re a private business, standing in solidarity with the workers, especially those brave enough to march outside for hours on end. But generosity during these times will not be turned off. Eventually, a coffee cup started filling itself with money. Did I mention how generous people are, even when face with impending economic uncertainty? It got me thinking though, I could get my table mate, Derek, something to eat. I could pay for his parking. I could provide cream, more cups, more coffee, I could pay for a volunteers parking (want to help hand out awesome coffee to the people?), I could sustain the table as long as people were out in the streets and needed it. People were essentially ensuring that the next person that came along could have a cup of coffee, could warm up, could go a little bit longer. A third-shift union-cab worker, who rarely sees mid-day light had a cup and stayed out a little longer. She was happy for a chance to exercise.
Speaking of driving at all hours of the day and night, three buses rolled in to the Capitol today from Los Angeles, California. That caused some serious excitement around the square. Being so close to the source of the news can sometimes be the most challenging place to get the right story, or the right schedule. But when 3 bus loads of Union Workers from Los Angeles come to Wisconsin in the dead of winter to march in front of your Capitol on behalf of your state employees and teachers, you know something important is happening. The same state employees and teachers who can’t be at the Capitol, because they continue to work to keep our state running, in spite of potentially losing their most basic right as workers; collective bargaining.
The most touching part of it all is hearing every person’s story, especially the people who are listed on The Sign multiple times. The guy living on his severance and marching on behalf of his wife who was teaching today. The nurses who just got off of their 12 hour shift. the sheet metal workers from Milwaukee, the students who were going home to shower, but would be back as soon as they could. Real people, taking a moment to pause, to talk about legitimate things, over coffee.
It’s a beautiful thing. We’ll be out there as long as we can.
In cooperation, Luke