An open letter from Daniel Terry, Aiyana Kane, and Christopher Roy.
To our progressive business community,
The three of us are writing to ask the progressive business community in BC and Canada to stand with us and join the Pull Together campaign.
Pull Together is a positive, empowering campaign that encourages people to host events and fundraise online, as well as partnering with businesses to raise money to fund First Nations legal challenges to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers project. Last fall, starting with a simple spaghetti dinner in Terrace, more than 80 events were organized, 3,000 individuals and 40 businesses donated, together raising an amazing $350,000 to build the legal war chest of seven small First Nations communities.
The one year anniversary of Federal government approval is this June, and Pull Together is back at it with a “Week to End Enbridge” June 13-21. More than 60 businesses have signed on to participate: LUSH and Patagonia have given significant grants. Denman Island Chocolate’s Pull Together bars are selling at checkout counters in over 70 retailers, large and small. Bandidas Taqueria gave 25% of their profits from diners on Earth Day. Uprising Breads Bakery is donating 20% of a weekend’s revenues, and Spirit Bear Lodge in the Great Bear Rainforest is donating 100% of 2 vacation packages. Moksha Yoga last fall raised over $13,000 and is now pitching it to their global network.
Businesses are getting involved by donating a day’s profits, creating a special product or package, or matching employee or customer donations. The campaign has a great brand and helpful staff to make custom posters, graphics or social media promotions for you. This is also a cause that resonates strongly with progressive consumers in BC and beyond, building genuine brand loyalty and helping to tell the story of what a social venture is really all about.
Aiyana Kane co-owner of Bandidas Restaurant on Commercial Drive said “I feel so grateful to organizations like Pull Together, who give me a way to have a voice on issues that are so big and so important that I can sometimes feel powerless. Pull Together helped me (and my business partner Jackie) have a voice. Also, through our fundraising event, we realized yet again the power of standing for something as a business. Bandidas, as a fixture in the community, has the power to say something and touch and inspire others. Our businesses, like Pull Together, can help others be empowered to have a voice.”
Daniel Terry of Denman Island Chocolate developed a Pull Together chocolate bar that’s now for sale across BC. “I feel like it’s really important to not just cheer for First Nations from the sidelines, but to actually participate in enabling their legal fight. Over 70 of our retailers are now carrying the bars and many are donating their margin also, adding to the donation that we are making for every bar sold”
Christopher Roy of Marketworks has been working with RAVEN Trust, who are running the campaign, pro bono for over two years now. “First Nations values and legal rights are our last defence to protect what needs and deserves protecting. We’re on the edge of a tidal wave of sustainable alternative energy opportunities. We don’t need more investment in carbon energy infrastructure. We don’t need to endanger traditional territories of First Nations people, nor the natural and wild places all Canadians call home. We can do better than building pipelines.”
Pull Together has raised more than $385,000 towards its target of $600,000 for First Nations legal challenges. This June 13-21 is their “Week to End Enbridge”: on the one year anniversary of Federal approval of Northern Gateway, communities, citizens, and businesses will send a strong message of why we don’t want this project and what we are willing to do to stop it.
As businesses, we can sometimes worry about getting too political. We encourage all of you of the SVI community to consider what this challenge, this opportunity truly means. As social entrepreneurs we have the power to have a strong voice in the community. If this is a cause that is meaningful to you, if you believe that keeping BC’s interior and coast free from tar sands pipelines and tankers, we invite you to risk standing for the importance of this issue in a visible way. You may be surprised at what is possible when we take these kinds of risks.
Thanks for considering getting involved, and thank you to Jason Mogus of Communicopia for calling us together in this work,
Daniel Terry, Aiyana Kane, and Christopher Roy
Want to support Pull Together? Contact Leila Darwish at 778-679-2907 or firstname.lastname@example.org and she can help you brainstorm ideas or get you the support you need.