In accordance with our values, it is with sincerest regret that we are forced to announce that Narrative Coffee will be withdrawing from the United States Barista Qualifying Competition and the United State Brewers Cup Qualifying Competition indefinitely.
This decision is in direct response to the announcement of the SCA’s “Deferred Candidacy Policy.” The SCA formally recognizes that a number of the locations they’ve chosen to host these vital coffee events puts the very lives of LGBTQI coffee professionals at risk. Their solution, however, is an ill-conceived attempt at compromise that flies fully in the face of everything they supposedly stand for. In this process, they’ve excluded a large number of competitors, coaches, volunteers, organizers, media, and attendees from being able to attend without fear for their lives. These events are essential; they help build important relationships, gain valuable skills, and offer competitors and companies an opportunity to showcase all of their hard work on the global stage. By excluding any group of people from attending these events, the SCA has demonstrated that protecting and serving the needs of its constituents is a lower priority than logistical hurdles it would require to move the event, or monetary benefits that may arise from hosting events in these countries with significant, documented human rights abuses but with well-lined pockets.
Placing the onus of life-safety on the LGBTQI competitors through an official deferment is absurd. Sprudge.com said it better than we can, “formal outing in the name of bureaucratic authorization is wildly insensitive, untenable, and unacceptable.”
This decision is hugely problematic for a number of reasons:
1.) It endangers the lives of LGBTQI SCA members simply for existing and places the onus for their physical safety on the competitor, without offering any solvency for LGBTQI volunteers.
2.) It prevents LGBTQI members and competitors from being offered the same opportunities as more privileged competitors.
3.) It forces LGBTQI competitors to delay their opportunity to win by at least one full year, placing them at a logistical disadvantage because their coffee will have changed which would force their entire presentation to change, their employment may have changed, and their practice regimen will be altered.
a. This creates further logistical issues when a country now has a deferred competitor and begs the question of whether that will preclude the country from selecting another competitor in the deferred year or if the country will end up sending two competitors, both of whom must face off against each other on the world stage.
b. This creates an imbalance in the competition structure and creates an awkward dynamic that shouldn’t have to exist
4.) It continues the systemic disenfranchisement of minority members by limiting access to professional development opportunities based on discriminatory practices and locales.
We reject this decision outright and believe it to be counteractive to the stated mission of the SCA to promote “openness, inclusivity, and the power of shared knowledge.” Furthermore, we reject this decision because it is antithetical to our values and may limit some of our team from having the same opportunities as everyone else.
We urge the board of directors of the SCA to remove this terrible policy, we urge them to uphold the values for which the SCA claims to stand, and we encourage them to take steps to ensure that *all* members of the SCA are able to attend SCA sponsored world events safely.
With our deepest regrets,
2927 Wetmore Ave.,
Everett, WA, 98201