The morning after President Donald Trump ordered the first travel ban, barring entrance into the U.S. from seven countries and denying Syrian refugees, many in the Bay Area woke up wondering what they could do to help those affected.
For some, the first step was deciding where to get their caffeine fix.
1951 Coffee, a barista training program and nonprofit coffee shop in Berkeley staffed entirely by refugees, had opened just days earlier near the Cal campus. When founders Rachel Taber and Doug Hewitt began developing the concept about two years earlier, they had no idea the refugee crisis would become a dinner table conversation topic. Or that so many people would be looking for ways to support those who had settled in the U.S.
Those first days after the travel ban was instated, business at 1951 Coffee was booming enough to warrant the hiring of two additional employees.
"We had staffed for slow growth. We had not staffed for lines all day long," Taber said.
Now ten baristas - all refugees, asylum seekers or Special Immigrant Visa holders from many different countries - serve up fresh Verve coffee, Blue Willow tea and sandwiches seven days a week. All the employees are graduates of the 1951 training program, a two-week crash course on making cappuccinos and interviewing for jobs. The 40 others who have gone through the program are mostly employed at other Bay Area cafÃ©s now, including Blue Bottle and Peet's.
The 1951 storefront at 2410 Channing Way is nondescript and somewhat easy to miss, but the interior is bright and sleek with a bold color scheme. Maps and mini educational exhibits cover the walls. The cafÃ© has quickly become a hot study spot for UC Berkeley students, but as those students begin to leave campus for the summer, Taber and Hewitt are looking for ways to expand their reach to the rest of the community and keep operations going strong.
12 midnight, 1951 storefront at 2410 Channing Way
The Harlem Renaissance comes to brilliant life in Berkeley at Black Repertory Group's production of Langston Hughes' classic Little Ham. This romantic urban comedy set in the Jazz Age centers on a vibrant, resilient community whose residents dream of hitting it big playing in Harlem.
also at 8 pm
3pm to 5pm, Blqck Repertory Group 3201 Adeline Street
The Bay Area is among the most politically and cultural liberal regions in the country, its reputation for tolerance and progressive politics is second to none. Our artists have accordingly been among the most outspoken critics of mainstream, status-quo politics as usual. Alt-Left: Local Treasures is a Bay Area art response to the current national ascendancy of the Alt-Right. It features work by three painters, Mark Bryan, Michael Kerbow and Ariel Parkinson; two collagists, John Hundt and Vanessa Woods; and a sculptor, Francisco JimÃ©nez, who comment on history, politics and psychology with both deep feeling and a mordant, absurdist humor.
Artists in Conversation
Saturday, May 20, 4pm
Free for BAC Members / $10 Nonmembers
Join the featured artists along with exhibition curator DeWitt Cheng for a fascinating conversation about left-leaning surrealism and art-making in the Trump era.
4pm to 5pm, Berkeley Art Center Walnut Street
$28 adv / $32 door / $60 three day pass. 644-2020. www.thefreight.org
7pm, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA, United States
$15. 525-5054. www.ashkenaz.com.
8:30pm to 11:30pm, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA, United States