Bill Penzey just sent gift boxes of their "Kind" spice box to people in Mukwonago area school district with a 3-page letter detailing why it matters to all of us that they change their mascot from "the Indians". "America has its special place among nations for what we have done right," the letter says, and because "we are also capable of admitting when we get things wrong."
"You can't forgive something that is still happening," writes Bill. "We've caused too much pain here. As long as the stereotypes we create attempt to justify the way their ancestors were treated, the protests won't stop. As a father myself I have to agree that as long as the caricatures we create work to deny their children the same access to opportunity our children enjoy, their protests really shouldn't stop."
"There's much to be said for, in a moment of kindness, choosing the path of happiness and putting all the hurt behind us. All kinds of ancestors would smile down upon us. Either way, enjoy these seasonings. You were there when I needed you and you are a big part of what we have become. The least I can do is pass along some good spices. Enjoy."
The box also includes a $10 voucher for the store, a "KIND" pin and contact info for legislators and the school board for citizens so inclined to spread the message of the need for kindness to all. The KIND box includes several of their signature mixes, including "Forward!," a spice that honors teachers.
I could not be more touched or impressed with this beautiful gesture and think Penzeys is a model for what responsible civic action can mean to building community and connecting business to the issues that make our society civil, decent, and whole.
Bravo, Bill Penzey. You'd already earned my business with your great product. Today you earned my deepest respect.
And, for one, I will pay forward the kindness by continuing to speak out against SB 317 and any other measures that attempt to institutionalize hurtful stereotypes that move us backward.
FORWARD. Best spice ever.