“A tree is best measured when it is down,” the poet Carl Sandburg once observed, “and so it is with people.” The recent death of Harry Belafonte at the age of 96 has prompted many assessments of what this pioneering singer-actor-activist accomplished in a long and fruitful life.
Belafonte’s career as a ground-breaking entertainer brought him substantial wealth and fame; according to Playbill magazine, “By 1959, he was the highest paid Black entertainer in the industry, appearing in raucously successful engagements in Las Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles.” He scored on Broadway, winning a 1954 Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical – John Murray Anderson's Almanac. Belafonte was the first Black person to win the prestigious award. A 1960 television special, “Tonight with Belafonte,” brought him an Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program or Series, making him the first Black person to win that award. He found equal success in the recording studio, bringing Calypso music to the masses via such hits as “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and “Jamaica Farewell.”
Harry Belafonte - Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) (Live)www.youtube.com
Belafonte’s blockbuster stardom is all the more remarkable for happening in a world plagued by virulent systemic racism. Though he never stopped performing, by the early 1960s he’d shifted his energies to the nascent Civil Right movement. He was a friend and adviser to the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. and, as the New York Times stated, Belafonte “put up much of the seed money to help start the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was one of the principal fund-raisers for that organization and Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that “he helped launch one of Mississippi’s first voter registration drives and provided funding for the Freedom Riders. His activism extended beyond the U.S. as he fought against apartheid alongside Nelson Mandela and Miriam Makeba, campaigned for Mandela’s release from prison, and advocated for famine relief in Africa.” And in 1987, he received an appointment to UNICEF as a goodwill ambassador.
Over a career spanning more than seventy years, Belafonte brought joy to millions of people. He also did something that is, perhaps, even greater: he fostered the hope that a better world for all could be created. And, by his example, demonstrated how we might go about bringing that world into existence.
This Coffee Brew Helps Save Dogs
Dogs and coffee are two of my all-time favorite things.
So to discover a kind of coffee that actually supports dogs is nothing short of a miracle. Hugo Coffee, a coffee brand founded by "reformed lawyer" Claudia McMullin, does just that. It donates 10% of all proceeds to mission-based organizations that support the health and welfare of dogs.
For example, they donate to Paws for Life, which is an organization that works to end euthanasia by finding homes for shelter pets. "We are so grateful to Claudia McMullin and Hugo Coffee Roasters, not only for their AMAZING coffee but for their compassion, advocacy, and support to Paws for Life Utah and the homeless pets in our community," said the organization.
"Each week, they sponsor 'An Adoptable Moment' on KPCW radio where our adoptable cats and dogs are featured. Many times these pets are adopted days after being featured on the program, to which we are truly grateful!"
They also send donations to Nuzzles & Co, which has a mission to protect animals by educating people on humane treatment of animals and on finding loving homes for each of them. Nuzzles & Co has always been tied up in the Hugo Coffee mission. Before she bought a coffee shop and started a coffee company, McMullin was the executive of Nuzzles & Co, which primarily takes care of the pets of abuse survivors. While there, McMullin launched the Purple Paw Program for domestic violence survivors and their pets.
Sometimes, people in abusive relationships are afraid to leave their partners for fear that they won't be able to take their pets, or because they are afraid their partners might retaliate against their pet. The Purple Paw Program offers free care for pets of abuse survivors, offering rehabilitation in case the pet has been abused as well, which is unfortunately often the case.
Pet abuse and domestic violence are intrinsically connected and often occur concurrently with child abuse in family situations. According to Sheriff.org, 71% of people entering domestic violence shelters report that the batterer had threatened, injured, or killed family pets. In addition, according to AWIonline.org, between 18 and 48% of battered women avoid leaving a dangerous situation out of fear for their pets' safety.
In addition to their services for domestic abuse survivors, Nuzzles & Co runs a huge variety of programs dedicated to helping people and their pets. Another one of their programs is the Nuzzles & Co Rez Rescue, which works on the Ute Native American Reservation in Utah, helping to set up spay/neuter programs, vaccinations, and homeless pet rehabilitation.
McMullin took her experiences with Nuzzles & Co to blend her passion for helping pets with her coffee business, which she also runs through a humanitarian lens. Hugo Coffee is only brewed in partnership with small family farms or coffee co-ops. They heat their beans with a combination of natural gas and infrared heat, using less energy than most coffee roasters typically do.
Hugo Coffee street teems can often be seen at dog adoption fairs and adoption events, fueling the energy and keeping the adoptions happening all day long. As of today, Hugo Coffee has donated over $32,000 to animal welfare organizations and has facilitated the adoptions of 505 dogs.
Dogs, coffee, and a mission-based goal: What could be better? (Of course, be careful: Dogs shouldn't drink coffee, because the beans are poisonous to them).
The company hasn't stopped with dogs — they also produce Fluffy Cow Coffee, which focuses on the humane treatment of cows. It's likely this brand won't stop until every animal has a caffeinated beverage dedicated to their welfare.
Drink Coffee and Save Animals with Claudia McMullinwww.youtube.com
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