“Hate is a virus," a message in royal icing. (📸: @sopheating)
“What’s important to us is that we fight for all marginalized communities,” co-founder Sophia Chang said. Sophia, or better known as @sopheating on Instagram, said that they’ve been planning to hold this fundraiser for AAAJ since January due to the rise in violence against Asian Americans, but the recent attacks in Georgia make this bake hit a little closer to home.
“In Pittsburgh, where there isn’t much diversity, it’s important to continue to champion people who don’t have a voice,” Sophia said. “ We can use our platform to advocate for change and raise awareness that these are experiences that everyone faces, and it starts on a small level.”
The other co-founders of Bakers for Change include pre-k teacher Kait Wakefield (@kait_bakes), wedding/portrait photographer Sarah McClosky (@sarahjeanette_), psychiatry resident Camille Tastenhoye (@ctastypastry), and Nashville-based pastry chef Jessica Bedor (@jessicabedor).
It all started with Kait posting “message cakes” on Instagram when COVID-19 hit the United States.
“I’d write things like ‘let’s stay home’ or ‘wear a mask,’” she said. Or some of my personal favorites: “Make Good Trouble,” “I shouldn’t have to tell you to care about other people” and “Love you...But From Like 6 ft. Away.”
“But then as things started getting worse and worse, I got angrier and angrier… so I posted in my stories asking ‘who wants to rage bake with me?’”
Flour, eggs, sugar — these simple ingredients became a recipe to soothe the complex, pandemic-era worries and, quite literally, bake a difference. Since starting in July, Bakers for Change have had participants join their virtual fundraisers from all over the United States and even Canada.
Camille said that these bake sales have resonated with so many because “people have felt powerless, and it’s really hard to watch communities suffer... it has been cool to see people come together through this community.”
This community includes the founding bakers themselves, who have all become friends at a time of social distancing. Through Zoom, social media, occasional masked neighborhood walks, and bake swaps, they’ve created a kinship of sweet activism.