Authenticity

December 10, 2011
Letter by Erika Hotchkiss as posted on Forward Lookout blog. 

Since the beginning of the recall effort in Verona I have received many messages and phone calls both in support and in opposition to Tuvalu’s participation in the recall effort. I would like to take a moment to clarify why I have made the decision to involve my local business in this issue.
Tuvalu Coffeehouse & Gallery has, since it’s opening, been all about social justice.

Everything I do I do with the thought of how it will affect our community, our children, and quite honestly our world. I have set out to make a place in Verona that educates consumers and offers a family friendly environment and a socially conscious choice within our community.

I feel strongly that what is happening to the people of our state and the divisiveness that we see at the Capitol is, at its core, a social justice issue. I have, therefore, provided the recall Walker organizers in Verona a place to collect signatures where they can sit out of the cold at a table in the corner and be safe, and the people who want to sign the recall petition can sign it knowing that they are signing in a place where they and their signatures are also safe. The recall group has been very respectful of our business and our customers. They sit quietly at a table with their petitions waiting for people to come to them if they so choose.
As a customer recently wrote to me “Some might think that putting politics into your business is risky… Sometimes, separating the two is the least authentic choice. We must all go to bed at night knowing we are measured by the positions we take on a daily basis. I applaud the transparency and I know you sleep well.”
No matter the outcome, I wouldn’t change a thing.

As a longtime resident of Verona, a mother to three wonderful kids, and a small business owner I have to make the best choices I am able to every day. I love that we have a safe place in Verona for people to sign. I love that I am able to stand up for what’s right with integrity and feel empowered and supported by this wonderful community! I have never been silent when I see injustice and misuse of power no matter the risk. I truly would walk away from anything where I was not able to be authentic to who I am and what I believe. This is what Tuvalu is at its core… it’s more than just a place to get a great cup of coffee.

Thank you all and Happy Holidays!
Erika Hotchkiss

Erika is the owner of Tuvalu Coffeehouse and Gallery in Verona, WI. 

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