Sweet Resistance

Richmond Bakers Against Racism joins global fundraiser fighting injustice.


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Brown butter sugar cookies. Japanese cheesecake with plum compote. Oat milk tahini pudding.

It’s sweet resistance, Shola Walker writes in a Richmond Bakers Against Racism Instagram post.

Walker used to own Jackson Ward bakery Mahogany Sweets and is currently the community chef for Shalom Farms. She’s one of more than 40 – and counting – Richmond area chefs and bakers participating in the worldwide June 20 fundraiser, Bakers Against Racism.

“I lean into my heritage, all of the salty/bitter and molasses sweet and I let the finished product speak for me,” Walker writes. “I let it speak for every black woman who has ever set her hands to the fire in kitchens for generations. What I bake tells a story, a long story of southern resistance.”

The international bake sale taking place from Paris to Singapore was started in Washington by Kith and Kin pastry chef and James Beard Award winner Paola Velez. All cities participating in the fundraiser will sell the donated sweets – donations start at $20 – and give the money to grassroots, local organizations of their choice.

When Brenner Pass pastry chef Olivia Wilson and Richmond based food illustrator and baker Molly Reeder heard about Velez’s initiative, they jumped at the opportunity to start organizing. “We’ve been wanting to do something to bring the baking community together,” Reeder says.

They brainstormed the five organizations they wanted to contribute to — Richmond for All (richmondforall.com), Neighborhood Resource Center of Fulton (nrccafe.org), Nolef Turns (nolefturns.org), Richmond Peace Team (richmondpeaceteam.org), and Richmond Food Justice Alliance (richmond-food-justice-alliance.ueniweb.com/?utm_campaign=gmb) – and had a friend whip up a graphic.

“We are so blown away by how many bakers want to get involved – when word got out we had so many people messaging us,” Reeder says.

In addition to Walker, participants include Ben Lee from Sub Rosa, Megan Fitzroy from Longoven and Arley Arrington of Arley Cakes. Reeder says they’ll have vegan and vegetarian options, but don’t count on any one theme in your box – they’ll all be filled with bite-sized portions of the expertly made sweet and savory goods. A handy list will accompany the box, too, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Wilson says that beyond the excitement of participating in a global event, she’s just happy that these local nonprofits will finally get a much-needed spotlight – and money.

“A lot of these organizations are run by women and people of color, these are people who have been doing hard work in our communities for a long time and have not been supported,” Wilson says. “I’m excited to raise money for them and introduce them to people, maybe even some of their neighbors, who don’t know they’re doing great, important work. It’s not glamorous – they really depend on community donations and fundraising.”

Preorder your baker’s dozen online at mollyreeder.com/rbar on Monday and Tuesday. Donations start at $20, and orders can be picked up at the Brenner Pass patio from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 20.