I thought long and hard about posting this. Is it my place to speak up? Should we just quietly continue to make our awesome tea and remain silent about the troubling issues affecting our country? Then I thought about why we founded this company. Since day one, it has been an important part of our mission to help people who needed help, to pick people up when they are down, and speak up for those who don't have a voice. Whether it has been farmers impacted by environmental or economic catastrophe or indigenous people working to increase agency and awareness, we've always stood in solidarity with ALL the folks in our community. Why should this be any different?
As a white man, I know that I have led a privileged life. I could not ever begin to know what people of color endure everyday. That doesn't mean that I will stand idly by and remain silent - I want to make it explicitly clear, we may not understand first-hand what you're going through, but we are here for you, and we stand with you, and we empathize with you for what you've had to endure.
For those of you who don't know, before making Yaupon tea and regenerative agriculture my life's work, I was a long-time law enforcement officer. I became a cop at the age of 23, earned a bachelor's in Legal Studies and then a Master's degree in Criminal Justice Administration. I eventually earned the rank of Captain, and I also served as an EMT and an ocean rescue lifeguard. I truly did love the job, and I loved the opportunities it gave me to help people when they needed it most. I saw things that were heartbreaking and terrible, and things that were awesome and inspiring. And "awesome" is how I would choose to define the responsibilities of a police officer. The power of a gun and badge should not be taken lightly, and it definitely should never been an instrument of oppression. It shouldn't be, but sometimes it is. I can honestly say that the overwhelming majority of police officers I knew and worked with over eleven years were great people who cared deeply about helping others. I say this because like me, I know these officers are disturbed, saddened and angered by the actions of oppressive and malicious abusers who should never work behind a badge.
I feel very strongly that it is well past time for a change in America. For too long, our compatriots of color have been marginalized, robbed of opportunity, and oppressed. For those seeking to peacefully change the status-quo, for those who have the courage to say "enough," know that we stand with you. For my friends working behind the badge, I know these times are difficult for you as well, but I know you can earn back the trust. It's easy to hate, but it takes strength to be gentle and kind. This we must strive for in all things.
It has become our mission here at Yaupon Brothers to delight you with our American-grown tea, and to use the lessons of those who came before us to help build a more fulfilling and sustainable world for everyone, and that means you, too.
I just needed to tell you all that no matter who you are, what color skin you have, who you choose to love, and how you choose to live, we LOVE you.