Help Trio Thrive As The First 100% Black Owned Vegan Restaurant In Minneapolis
Three years ago, Louis Hunter was facing a whopping twenty years in prison for unjust charges related to his presence at a #BlackLivesMatter protest in the Twin Cities. He was at risk of losing his life, freedom and being taken away from his four daughters, family and beloved community. For two years, Louis continued to proclaim his innocence and fought to get his charges dropped, to no avail. During this traumatic time, Louis lost his car, his lawn care business, and his housing, as a result of his pending charges.
Just weeks before his trial, a local couple, Sarah and Dan Woodcock, heard his story and felt compelled to get involved. Sarah and Dan worked with local Black Lives Matter (BLM) leaders, including Nekima Levy Pounds and Chauntyll Allen and allies to rally the community to help fight Louis’ bogus charges. After a concerted effort, all of Louis’s charges were miraculously dismissed.
In the aftermath of his charges being dropped, Louis approached Sarah and Dan about launching a food truck business. That idea spawned a partnership that resulted in the creation of Trio plant-based
, a brick and mortar restaurant that serves healthy, delicious vegan food, located in Minneapolis. Trio was launched over a year ago through personal contributions of the owners, the support of our local community, and advocates and allies for racial justice from around the nation. In keeping with its focus on racial equity and justice, Trio has created numerous job opportunities, including for people of color and provide their employees with a living wage.
A few months ago, Louis' business partners, Sarah and Dan, decided to close Trio but Louis was not ready to give up on his dream. During the first several months of business, Sarah, Dan and Louis encountered typical business challenges along with issues of anti-blackness, a component of racism that many don't talk about. Anti-blackness is baked into the fibers of systemic racism so pervasive that it's almost invisible. Sarah, Dan and Louis were not adequately prepared to deal with the anti-blackness when it became visible. And sadly, it did during the growing phase of Trio which put a strain on their working relationships. Those relationships have been adversely affected but not completely severed. These types of challenges are to be expected when three people from different racial backgrounds join forces to create one entity. Nevertheless, anti-blackness is a seriously oppressive type of behavior. And although this may be perceived as a failure it really is a set up for greater.
Sarah, Dan and Louis were not able to resolve their challenges so Sarah and Dan made the decision to step back from Trio and transfer full ownership to Louis. The transfer of ownership to Louis means that he operates the only 100% Black-owned vegan restaurant in the state of Minnesota. This is a reason to celebrate. Louis has an incredible opportunity to ensure the growth and sustainability of Trio, but he urgently needs our help.
Owning a restaurant is already a challenging endeavor. However, in addition to the traditional challenges, Louis has had to contend with being an African American man who has had contact with the criminal justice system in a state that has some of the worst racial disparities in the nation between Blacks and Whites. This includes disparities in lending practices by the major banks. As a result, Louis will need the support of our entire community to ensure that Trio will operate successfully for many years to come.
If you believe in racial, restorative and economic justice we need you to believe in Louis and Trio now more than ever. To get Trio to a place of strong financial positioning and stability, Louis needs to raise a total of $150,000 within the next 60 days, with an urgent need of $30,000 in the first 30 days of this campaign. We can do it! It must be done. So, let’s do it!
The money raised will be used for paying off business debts, employee salaries, professional development fees (so Louis can excel as a leader), and operational expenses. The funds will provide a financial cushion, as Trio prepares to become one of the most successful black owned businesses in the state of Minnesota.
Please give what you can frequently and consistently throughout the campaign. All funds will go directly to support Trio
. Feel free to share this campaign with your family, friends and colleagues. Thanks in advance for your love and support. We appreciate your contributions. Now let’s make it happen. *Please keep in mind that each donation has a 2.9% transaction fee + a $0.30 fee. We suggest you add that back into your donation so Trio receives your full donation. *
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