We Are a Safe Place For All – A Letter From Founder Kim Malek

At the request of our team, we wanted to share the following letter that was sent to our company earlier this week from our founder. As a community, we hope this provides some context for how we can all come together in our own ways to play a role in helping support a society that supports everyone. We believe we are strongest when everyone can participate equally in our society.

Hello All – 

I wanted to share my thoughts about our government’s recent stance on immigrants and refugees and a bit about what our company is doing in the face of these actions. 

I believe the President’s executive order on Friday is un-American and flies in the face of everything we stand for as a company. First and foremost, I wanted to reach out to find out if anyone on our team is facing or fears facing retaliation individually or amongst your friends or family. Please alert me and you can be sure that we will bring our full resources to bear to support you. 

In our communities, our shops and kitchens will continue to be a safe place where everyone is welcome. Over the coming weeks, we will be providing information about new programs that include training for our managers regarding how to work with local police to alert them and aid in offering protection to anyone in our neighborhoods who feel threatened. 

We have been and will continue to work with local government and non-profit organizations in both Oregon and California to very intentionally expand our outreach and hiring practices to help employ minorities, immigrants and others who are marginalized and looking to enter the workforce. We’ve recently received a tax credit from the City of Portland to help bring more focus to these efforts in collaboration with WorkSource Oregon as we open a new, expanded kitchen space in Portland. This summer will be our second year employing an intern from the Emerging Leaders program, focusing on minority college students in Portland. And we are rolling out training and hiring programs with the United Way in California.       

We will use our purchasing power to support these efforts too – by buying ingredients and partnering with organizations who are focusing on aiding immigrants to become thriving members of our society. As an example, we are partnering La Cocina to develop our new menu when we open in San Francisco next month, who focus on helping immigrant women create new businesses in the culinary industry. And in Portland, we are creating our very own Artisan Incubator program to help entrepreneurs launch new businesses in the food industry.

On a political front, both myself personally and our company have been and will continue to come forth physically and financially to support our local Governors, Mayors, policing entities, judicial organization and other officials and non-profits who are standing up to support immigrants.

All of this to say that we are working hard to play our part in combatting this movement in our society. I hope to make you all proud to work at Salt & Straw and be a part of our community during this time. You are an incredible group of people who can be a tremendous force for good right now. We are creating a place that is safe to work and safe for our customers and community. That is a promise we will never back down from. 

Please take some time to be extra good to those who come into your lives over the coming weeks. We all need a little more kindness to defuse these tensions and remind us of the beautiful humanity of every person. 

I look forward to hearing from you at any time. 

Sincerely –
Kim