in partnership
(Image: Michaela Banks)

Sweet Sweet Justice: How a Seattle baker uses Instagram to support racial justice

Through her project Sweet Sweet Justice, Michaela Banks auctions off amazingly-delicious homemade desserts to support BIPOC-led organizations working towards racial justice. Her tasty bakes include creations such as Earl Grey Loaf Cake, Golden Turmeric Cake, Vietnamese Iced Coffee Cake, and Cardamom Tres Leches. Yum!

And yet, as amazing as these cakes look and taste, Banks points out that Sweet Sweet Justice exists to “honor and support the Black folks, and other people of color, who have been doing this work for a long time.” Her talent and passion for baking serve as a vehicle for supporting and amplifying racial justice.

Her biggest hope for the project? “That it would bring money, visibility, and engagement to BIPOC-led racial justice organizations."

Banks dreamed up SSJ in the summer of 2020, "At this time, I was baking frequently and noticing a cultural turning point in which many people in my circles were learning about racial injustice for the first time, and asking, ‘But what can I do?’ There seemed to be an opportunity to point myself and others back to the people of color who were already doing the important work (long before 2020!).”

So, with a spatula in one hand and her phone in the other, Banks created an Instagram page, and got baking.

Every other week, she highlights a different organization that works towards racial justice. She provides educational content on both the work of the organization and the particular racial disparity the organization addresses, such as voting access, maternal services, education, and housing.

And then, of course, there’s the dessert! Banks bakes a different item for each auction, using different flavors, techniques, and decorations. The very lucky winner is the highest bidder for the dessert, and 100% of the auction money goes to the organization.

Since starting SSJ, Banks has learned “the extent of the incredible racial justice work being done around the country, but especially locally here in Seattle.” SSJ has supported organizations such as AGE Up, Families of Color Seattle, Lavender Rights Project, WA-BLOC, Rainier Scholars, Washington Therapy Foundation, Choose 180, Northwest Community Bail Fund, Real Rent Duwamish, Seattle Clemency Project, Creative Justice NW, Campaign Zero, Northwest Equity in Education Coalition, and more.

“2020 opened many of our eyes to the severity of racial injustice for the first time, but that doesn’t mean that the work of racial justice, or re-imagining and re-creating, started there. Black and Indigenous folks, especially women, have been teaching and leading this work for a long time.”

So where do you come in?

Follow Sweet Sweet Justice on Instagram and become a bidder! Everyone could use a little more sweetness in their life, right? And, most importantly, use SSJ as a resource to learn about organizations working towards racial justice, and then support and amplify those organizations.

A few more details:

● Auction time frame: Banks indicates when the auction will end through Instagram.

● Pick-Up: Auction winners pick up their desserts from Kent, WA (arranged with Banks). Some desserts are available for shipping.

● Have a special request? Banks currently does a very limited number of commissions for SSJ. Inquire directly with Banks.