A letter from lil’gourmets, to our community…

lil’gourmets mission is to embrace diversity. We introduce flavors from around the world to young ones to pique their interest in our world. We believe that when we learn about people and cultures outside of our own, they become less “foreign,” which leads not only to interest, but acceptance. We strive to make the world a smaller place through food.

While diversity is core to who we are as people and as a company, we admittedly have only emphasized the positives of diversity, but have not addressed the injustice and racism that are present here at home and around the world, particularly within Black communities.

Over the years, as a POC, as a woman, and as a person with many friends and family who are POC, I have been on the receiving end of racist comments and actions. As I spoke out against racism, I was reminded, time and time again, those in power easily ignored this reality. Sadly, repeated backlash for being vocal led to my increased silence and to not do my part in this fight.

I see now, after personal reflection, silence equates to complicity and for many, particularly in the Black community, racism cannot be avoided. Not being racist is not the same as being anti-racist, and those on the receiving end of injustice cannot fight for that injustice alone. We all must do better and we all must do our part.

 At lil’gourmets:

  • We advocate for equality and justice for all. Everyone deserves a chance at the American Dream.
  • We mourn the loss of life, the destruction of our communities, and the despair within them.
  • We stand in solidarity. We support and participate in peaceful protests.
  • We pledge to speak out against injustice and speak up for those who have been marginalized.
  • We vote for local and national leaders to help institute real change for equality.
  • We always believe and say Black Lives Matter.

The impact of the protests of the last two weeks is incredible to see. Thank you to the organizers. Thank you to Black Lives Matter. Thank you to all the peaceful protestors. Thank you to so many Black leaders and activists for your leadership. We are saddened that it has taken too much injustice and too much death to bring us here. We also recognize that more work is needed by so many to institute lasting change, but we are in awe of all that has been accomplished not just here in the U.S., but the awakening this has triggered around the world.

Today we are a small start-up. But we want to publicly state our Values in Action, as we have a part to play today and so that we can be held accountable in the future. We pledge to:

  • Fight hunger: Poverty, hunger and socio-economic disadvantages disproportionately affect Black families and communities. As a company focused on improving food for our kids, we know nutrition plays a large role in early development and future health. We also strongly believe that education is essential to reduce poverty. Yet, children who are hungry cannot learn to their potential. We have been long supporters of the Greater Chicago Food Depository in their mission to provide healthy meals to those in need and more recently have partnered with additional organizations focused on ensuring our children are not hungry and under-served families are assisted. To do our part, we commit to donating 5% of our annual profits to support this and related causes. We also commit to continue to grow our veggie meal food donations each year. Through June of 2020, our veggie meal donations have surpassed our 2019 total and we are not done. We will hold ourselves accountable by publishing annual donations. Finally, as we grow and scale our business, we pledge to not simply take profits to our bottom line, but to use that scale to make our veggie meals more accessible to more and more families.
  • Listen & participate: Our duty to empathize and understand is constant, and we will continue to seek out Black viewpoints and contributions, both as parents and as business-owners. We recommit to our stated inclusive and diverse business practices, which includes showcasing families of all kinds of races, religions and cultures, but importantly Black families. And we promise to no longer be silent; we will share, promote and stand in solidarity with our anti-racist community.
  • Vote: Real, lasting change will take local, state and national leaders who share our vision for racial equality. We commit to using our right to vote, personally advocate for those who share these values, and will support all lil’gourmets partners and employees’ right to participate in all elections, as this is a power we all have to invoke true change.
We respectfully understand that this work is just getting started. These steps are only the beginning, but they are our commitment to ourselves, our children, and our community. We believe that building the future we wish to see starts at home and with each of us, and we vow to do our part.

 

With gratitude,

Becky & Shibani, founders of lil'gourmets

 

Image credit: @sacree_frangine