The craft beer-wide Black is Beautiful collaboration project was one of the rare highlights of 2020, and its positive momentum has rolled into 2021. Montclair Brewery, for instance, reports that it has given back to several organizations including the Equal Justice Initiative, DIFFvelopment and IMANI with their Black is Beautiful proceeds. Black is Beautiful is a global beer collaboration spearheaded by Weathered Souls Brewing to help bring awareness to and raise funds to help protect those impacted by racial injustices.
A portion of the proceeds were donated to two local organizations, DIFFvelopment and IMANI. DIFFvelopment’s mission is to empower Black students through culturally specific entrepreneurial and financial education. Montclair Brewery has previously worked with DIFFvelopment in the past.
“We have had two of their students work with the brewery within the past two years,” said Denise Ford Sawadogo, general manager and co-owner. “It is amazing to have had the chance to experience first-hand the impact that they have on college students that are often marginalized and we are honored to be able to give back to them.”
IMANI has been in existence for 21 years and offers educational support programs to promote high achievement for students in the Montclair Public Schools. They aim to close the achievement gap by collaborating with parents, teachers and school administrators to provide focused academic and social support for students of color. Ford Sawadogo has been involved with IMANI for 12 years, formerly the volunteer coordinator for the Mini IMANI reading program for children in grades K -5 and is a current advisory board member.
Another portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Equal Justice Initiative. This organization is a non-profit that provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons.
“Although the past year has been extremely challenging due to parts of our business being negatively affected by COVID-19 restrictions, we strongly believe in this mission to help level the playing field for people of color and to help African Americans who are disproportionately abused by a broken and biased justice system,” says Ford Sawadogo. “We continue to brew and sell our Black is Beautiful beer and look forward to donating to other organizations later this year” adds lead brewer and co-owner, Leo Sawadogo.