By Daniela Degrassi
After the initial shock and disbelief for the recent racial episode that took George Floyd’s life, the rage I felt transformed to a need to be proactive. It feels good to see the whole world taking sides, in solidarity of the Black Lives Matter movement (co-founded by three black community organizers: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi). The protest has grown stronger than ever before, from the movement’s origins in the summer of 2013, after George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
I hope Mr Floyd’s tragic death will really lead us to a turning point in our society, and that our future will be brighter, guided by inspiring leaders. Although this is not a political platform, at The Kind Bride we can certainly do our part in this pivotal moment in history. Starting today, we’ll be featuring a Black Owned Vegan Wedding Suppliers series. These professionals will inspire you for their strength, talent and kindness. We start with 5 powerful women stories.
EVENTS BY SOPHIE
Sophie Barry is a 15 years experienced event planner based in Washington, serving DC Metropolitan area. She launched Events by Sophie in 2013. Our East Coast bloggers always speak wonders about Sophie, having worked with her many times. She co-organized and co-directed, along side our very own Ashley Peters, the first ever styled shoot that we featured on The Kind Bride. Remember Vegan Vintage Glam Styled Shoot?
I recently touched base with her to hear how she was doing during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“Like most wedding and event planners, I’ve walked several clients through the process of rescheduling, reimagining, downsizing, or outright canceling plans for their special day. I have been lucky to work with so many flexible clients, venues and vendors during this time!
Sophie also shared a few words about Social Responsibility.
Sophie offers free consultations so Contact her if you have any questions about planning (or postponing!) your wedding in DMV area.
ALÉVRI AND CO.
Florida based Dawn Konofaos learnt to bake at a young age from her Aunt Angela. Divided between the passion for fashion and food, she veered to baking once she perfected her doughnut recipe. Since then, she perfected many other recipes and all her creations are infused with a strong artistic aesthetic, reminiscent of her fashion studies. Her company Alévri and Co. serves Florida & Georgia, in addition to the DMV area Pennsylvania and New York.
Dawn recently shared this message on her website:
“Times have been really difficult for me, other black humans, and the ones who stand with us. We are hurting, grieving and constantly fighting against the injustices in this country. I’ve been taking it easy for a few months and not really selling much. It was the best thing for me at the time.
This month on Monday June 15th Alévri & Co.’s orders will open for Tampa and St Pete! I’m so excited to be offering five items with two being gluten free.”
Reflective pauses always bring a regenerating energy and Dawn has a few projects on her mind:
“I’m going to keep raising awareness wherever I have a platform. I have a plan to raise money for an organization that assists women and girls who have been incarcerated and a few others. Lastly, starting a program centered around food/baking and agriculture in Baltimore City (moving in 2021) which is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I also plan to offer a scholarship to any workshop or program that Alévri offers. When people have what they need to get through life communities are healthy. This is what I’m doing to assist with supporting the lifeline, Us!”
We can’t wait to follow her new journeys!
AMELIA IRENE CATERING
A lover of all things entertaining since her grandmother threw her a birthday party when she was 5 years old, Amelia Irene found herself planning her wedding 25 years later. Frustrated with the options available to her she created many of them herself. After a florist cancelled at the last minute she designed her centerpieces, programs, thank you cards and many things in between. Her love for designing the perfect event was resurrected. She decided her company name should honor her two grandmothers, Amelia and Irene, for the gifts they bestowed on her.
Amelia Irene Design was birthed in 2008 after several years of perfecting her skills in floral design, catering, letterpress, and invitation design. Her Plant-Based Catering & Holistic Event Design serves North Carolina, DMV are, New York City and Beyond.
With a holistic approach, Chef Amelia Irene believes that whole foods create and sustains whole bodies. She wholeheartedly believes in her daily affirmation that her culinary gifts will bring vibrant life and healing to all who partake in it. It is her belief that you can eat yourself well without sacrificing flavor and her catering menus reflect whole organic cuisine that has been curated to delight the senses while enhancing your mind, body, and spirit. Food is at the center of every celebration. It is often why we all gather and what we remember most. Her desire is to debunk the myth that plant based guests are limited to only pasta and tofu! She intends to merge fine plant based dining with exceptional event design and decor so that her clients do not have to sacrifice style or their health when planning a memorable affair.
Moving to my more familiar California shores, we meet Tamearra Dyson, Chef and Owner at Souley Vegan. She has been cooking her signature vegan dishes since she was 18. Her story will inspire you. Shifting from a promising career in the medical field to what she was really passionate about, Tamearra lived some difficult times trying to start her business with zero savings. Through her hard work and some help she was able to secure a vacant location in Downtown Oakland where she operates since 2009 bringing real soul food Louisiana Creole flavors to the San Francisco Bay Area. She came a long way in just a decade, she’s now an acclaimed Chef, Vegan Restaurateur, Public Speaker and Educator.
Souley Food Jack London Square restaurant is temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 emergency, but their kitchens and hearts remain open! Their current hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 11AM to 8PM, while closed on Mondays and Sundays.
Please consider supporting them by ordering your favorites online for delivery or pickup.
THE VEGAN HOOD CHEFS
Ronnishia Johnson and Rheema Calloway are The Vegan Hood Chefs. They specialize in Pop Up Events turning many soul food and American style favorites into delicious vegan meals. Their passion for community organizing, creativity, and food has allowed them to launch a food initiative to help fight against food justice and social inequity within the San Francisco community. These chefs have recognized how nutrition education and access to healthy foods has contributed to the health conditions of many communities of color.
Ronnishia and Rheema were recently interviewed by NBC Bay Area and said: “We have to be aware of the many ways in which the war is waged against black people, and one of those ways is economically!”
The chefs were motivated by the lack of access to healthy foods within their communities. Growing up in both Lakeview and Bayview Hunter’s Point areas of San Francisco combined with their experience in community organizing, they began to shine light on how their native communities were experiencing food apartheid. they were able to link illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity are prevalent in the community due to poor nutrition access and racial inequality.
General rhetoric often equates these illness as being hereditary, however the Vegan Hood Chefs argue that most of these diseases are created through poor dietary choices or lack of access. Their mission is to provide healthy education and healthy vegan food for disenfranchised communities with their culinary work. This goal prompted them to launch a Fundraiser Campaign that needs our help.
We look forward to share more inspiring black owned vegan wedding businesses stories, reach out so we can feature you!
An incurable enthusiast and independent spirit since she could remember (her childhood heroines were Pippi Longstockings and Katharine Hepburn) Daniela Degrassi found her creative outlet as a lifestyle photographer, working mainly in Northern California. Currently splitting her time between SF Bay Area and her native Italy to continue to be her autistic sister’s primary caregiver. Vegan since 2014, she found a perfect way to carry her message of compassion while celebrating her love for the wedding industry launching The Kind Bride in February 2018.