Waku produces and sells horchata lojana, an ancient Andean herbal beverage that promotes a healthy gut. The Latinx-owned business sources its herbal ingredients from small-scale indigenous farmers in Ecuador at fair prices and has pursued organic certification for many of its ingredients. After producing and bottling its products in Ecuador, Waku distributes them in New England stores and direct to customers through its website. In 2021, BII provided Waku with a line of credit to even out cashflow as the company grows.
Boston Impact Initiative condemns the racially motivated murders in Atlanta on March 16th. This act is another case of the uniquely American plague of mass shootings, which tragically occurred again just days later in Boulder. But the Atlanta attack was a mass shooting mixed with white supremacy – something that we also witnessed in Charleston in 2015, Pittsburgh in 2018, and El Paso in 2019. We stand with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in their grief, and we lift up the experiences of women, for whom this violence is appalling yet its misogynist roots are familiar. For the AAPI community, this is another horrific incident in a long history of being targeted, excluded, and scapegoated in this country.
For me, I feel a personal connection with the AAPI community. My grandmother, Fredisvinda, came to the U.S. from the Philippines as a war bride in 1951. The U.S. held the Philippines as a colony from 1898 to 1946 and maintained an enormous naval base there until 1992. My American grandfather was in the U.S. Navy during WWII, stationed at Subic Bay.
When my grandparents moved back to the States with their daughters, they settled in Pennsylvania and my grandmother made her new home despite being faced with anti-Asian sentiment. This harassment ranged from neighbors protesting when my grandparents purchased their house to people yelling “Die, Japs!” and making machine-gun noises when my grandmother was out with her daughters. But my grandmother loved the U.S. She was the first in her family to emigrate and she encouraged many Filipino relatives to become U.S. citizens by serving in the U.S. Navy.
I am sharing this personal story to say that the people who were murdered on March 16th, most of them Asian-American women, each had their own story. And like my grandmother, many were striving for a decent life despite the anti-Asian harassment and violence perpetuated by their neighbors and the government.
At BII, we are standing in solidarity with the AAPI community in the Boston area, which has suffered harassment, economic hardship, and lack of access to capital, especially in the last year. Here are some organizations that are doing exceptional work in Eastern MA. Please join us in supporting them.
Impact Director, Boston Impact Initaitive
Roundhead Brewing is the first Latinx-owned craft brewery in Boston! The solar-powered brewery will open in 2021 in Hyde Park in the former Powerhouse at Westinghouse Plaza. The brewery aims to be a community space that will sell a variety of craft beers and fresh pizza in the taproom and beer in cans to-go. In 2021, BII invested in a term loan as part of a larger equipment financing facility in partnership with RSF Social Finance to purchase electric brewing equipment. Learn more here
Roundhead also raised over $100,000 from over 240 investors through Mainvest, platform that connects communities with local, brick and mortar businesses. Their success bodes well for a neighborhood that will embrace the new local brewery. Watch the video about Roundhead Brewing here.