Physician bakers unite with other culinary artists from around the world to "Dough Something" about racial inequality.
On June 9, 2020, athlete Jay Urich created a sign that said "matter is the minimum" for a peaceful protest. He and fellow athlete friend, Darien Rencher, held it up at separate protests, showing solidarity between black and white teammates. At the same time, something was happening in quiet and boisterous kitchens alike. It happened in different parts of the country and world, as bakers showed a similar unity for their colleagues. It happened to lift up black voices, speak against racial inequality and showcase art and baking in a way that the world was not used to. It was a celebration of black voices, and also the acknowledgement of a silent system that has entangled itself in this country’s roots from the days of the first slaves through now.
For Malek Binns (@frostedbymalekbinns on Instagram), who is an avid baker and published author of a cookbook, the Black Lives Matter Bakers Collab was created “to bring peace and unity during the tragic events happening in the U.S.” Malek speaks about wanting to create an opportunity for others to come together as one to showcase two things we have passion for, justice and baking.” Meanwhile Dr. Priscilla Sarmiento Gupana(@sarmiesistersweets), a celebrated cookie artist, advocate and pediatrician, had planned a similar Dough Something cookie collaboration. Her mission was to amplify black voices and raise awareness about organizations supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). Her goal was to have cookie artists and their followers “do something tangible to benefit those affected” by contributing to such organizations and raising money. Once she became aware of Malek’s collaboration, it was the perfect time to share the mic with a fellow cookier from the black community in order to “further boost the community and amplify voices like his.” They advertised for each other, worked together, much in the way that cookie artists do, celebrating and elevating each other. In the process, they brought hundreds of bakers from different backgrounds together to fundraise for organizations supporting the BIPOC community and to raise their voices about the struggles of black people. Matter was the minimum to know that black lives are beloved.
Candice Weaver, a black mother, lifestyle medicine expert, author, and artist, started cookie making to honor her grandmother, who was a baker in Yonkers, NY. She created a moving piece showing the tears of black mothers who will not hold their children again, the same children that cried out for them. The collaboration served as a platform to stand with other black women and allies in the fight for justice for black lives. To uplift and advocate for her community. To remind people that matter is the minimum and that black lives are worthy.
For me, the collaboration was recognition that the words of black people through history speak to their perseverance, but also their struggle. So many lives have been lost, so many freedoms taken, so many trails with dead ends and so many black people exhausted. Still, despite the injustices faced by Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr and Ruby Bridges, there was a singular belief between them that giving up was not an option; blazing a trail was necessary; freedom and peace were not separate roads; and that right would always be possible. As I painted Trayvon Martin’s face and wrote the names of black lives lost on my cookies, I was reminded of the need for systemic change. Juxtaposing this with the words of freedom fighters who never gave up reminded me that we cannot stop learning, unlearning, and pushing for right. The DoughSomething and BLMBakerCollabs allowed art to speak where words were unable to explain. There is much that needs to change in the United States, from equal justice, to access to healthcare, to disenfranchisement. We will need black voices to be heard and understood for this to happen. At this point, matter is the minimum. Black lives are beloved; black lives are worthy; black lives are needed.
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
- Edgar Degas