Thursday, June 21, 2007

Coffee Kids, Grounds for hope

There is an old story of a poor woman brought before a judge and charged with stealing a loaf of bread to feed her family. The woman did not contest the charge. The judge pondered the situation briefly, found her guilty, and fined her €10.

Immediately thereafter, the judge fined everyone in the courtroom, including himself, 50 cents. He then paid the woman's fine and gave her what remained from the collection. In the ruling, the judge explained that the homeless woman was guilty of stealing. But the people in the courtroom were guilty of living in a community where people were reduced to stealing to feed their families.

In spite of many social and environmental program in the specialty coffee industry, the majority of coffee-farming families in the world still live in deep poverty.

No matter what any of us has done on behalf of struggling coffee-farming families, it is simply not enough and it won't be enough until the very lucrative coffee trade is no longer associated with poverty for the 25 million families farming coffee. All of us in the coffee community are responsible for allowing millions of others to suffer. We are responsible because it is our community. We are responsible because if are not, who is?

There will be no fine to set things right. We must be our own judge and jury, and we must hold ourselves accountable to do the right thing. And if it doesn't hurt a little, it probably isn't enough.

Please support as many cases as you can and please give generously to Coffee Kids.

Bill Fishbein, Founder.

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