This week, @Wrecking_Ball became the first vendor to turn down a contract to serve Salesforce (at Dreamforce 2018) because of the services it provides U.S. Customs and Border Protection: https://t.co/sNKiUIsfPe— Jonathan Kauffman (@jonkauffman) July 26, 2018
A San Francisco-based coffee company is taking a stand against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies by refusing to do business with a separate company that has partnered up with the administration.
Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, owned by Nick Cho and Trish Rothgeb, were in the final talks of negotiating a contract worth $40,000 that would have them selling their brand at a yearly conference called Dreamforce. That conference is operated by a company called Salesforce.
What stopped the negotiations, however, was Salesforce’s own government contract with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. Salesforce says it helps the government by “[modernizing] its recruiting process” as well as helping to “manage its border activities.”
News about a nonprofit immigration organization, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), turning down a $250,000 donation from Salesforce because of their connection to CBP, which had been the primary agency detaining and separating immigrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border, caught the eyes of Wrecking Ball Coffee’s owners.
Both owners have personal connections to immigration. Cho himself is an immigrant, having come here from China as a child. Rothgeb’s father came to America from the Philippines.
Because RAICES courageously said “no” to the sizable donation, Cho and Rothgeb both decided they needed to take a stand as well.
“Are we going to, as a lot of people do, turn a blind eye and say the world is dirty, nobody’s perfect, or is this a situation where we reject a $40,000 opportunity and make a statement?” Cho explained.
His business partner agreed and said that economic choices like these were imperative to stand up to the administration’s actions.
“Business is going to have to be the resistance we want to see,” Rothgeb said. “That’s the truth. You can’t get anything done unless business is going to take a stand.”
Their company still submitted a bid for the contract to serve coffee but with the stipulation added that they’d only do so if Salesforce stopped helping CBP. If that action isn’t taken, they’d refuse to be part of the conference.
The contract was no small matter — last year’s conference brought in more than 161,000 patrons to Dreamforce, meaning Wrecking Ball Coffee would have likely made a sizable profit from the contract.
Still, their actions are worth emulating. It can sometimes be difficult to do what your heart tells you is the “right thing” — especially when doing the opposite could net tens of thousands of dollars.
But Rothgeb and Cho knew they couldn’t in good conscience, allow themselves to profit from a company that had itself profited from aiding a government agency that violated the rights of immigrants.
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