Brown Hope, the recently minted organization with the goal of making justice a lived experience for Oregon’s Black, brown, and indigenous people, is launching Blackstreet Bakery, a vegan pop-up bakery with a mission of is own: to offer economic opportunity and livable wages to Black folk while honoring the historic presence of Portland’s Black population on and around Mississippi Avenue.
According to Cameron Whitten, the organizer behind both Brown Hope and Blackstreet Bakery, the Black-led vegan pop-up will officially launch at Q Center, just in time for the Mississippi Street Fair on Saturday, July 14.
Bakers at the launch will include Rochelle Cunningham, Rachelle Dixon, Ayana Elizabeth, Dashia Fontleroy, and Alanna Joy, who are collectively preparing a roster of pastries from chocolate chip cookies and banana cream mini-pies to cupcakes, hush puppies, apple crisps, and avocado chocolate mousses. Pastry prices range from $1 to $5.50.
Blackstreet, Whitten explains, was founded in response to a conversation stemming from an incident at the Northeast Portland vegan bakery, Back to Eden, in which a Black woman was denied service after she joined a queue inside the shop minutes after its 9 pm closing time. That incident drew outrage because the employees running the counter told the woman they couldn’t serve her because the shop had closed, despite serving the white people already in said queue.
“After that, a community member reached out and wanted to help fund an initiative to support Black vegan baking,” Whitten explains. “It’s an opportunity to take a painful and difficult experience and turn it into a new business opportunity.”
After its Mississippi Street Fair launch, the Blackstreet pop-up will go weekly, with a revolving cast of vegan bakers and baked goods sellers. They may or may not happen at the Q Center, Whitten says, but they’ll always go down on Mississippi.
Blackstreet Bakery launches at 10 am on Saturday, July 14 at the Q Center, located 4115 N Mississippi, and will run till 6 pm or until the bakers run out of goods.