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Plus, another round of I Spy for our members
The Incline

🍰 Pittsburghers baking a difference

Plus, another round of I Spy for our members

Welcome to Wednesday!

Today’s newsletter is a takeover, dare I say bakeover 😬, for a new series called “Jeet Yet?” where The Incline highlights what local culinary creatives are making in the kitchen.

Hungry? Let’s dig in.

“Let’s stay home”, a noble cake born out of quarantine. (📸: @kait_bakes)

Yuzu macarons, matcha strawberry shortbread, lavender honey cupcakes, and chocolate tarts with miso caramel and sesame — these are just a few of the latest creations from the Bakers for Change group, a local organization that strives to “enact change through baking” by hosting virtual bake sales for social justice campaigns. 

Since July, the group has raised nearly $16K for voting rights organizations and more than $7K for Black Lives Matter. And it’s just getting started; their next bake sale is going to be the biggest one yet.

Tomorrow, you can order a sweet treat for a good cause — your money goes to support the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, or AAAJ — an Asian Law Caucus founded in 1972. It’s the nation’s first legal and civil rights organization serving low-income Asian Pacfic American communities.

To purchase, you have to follow @bakersforchange on Instagram, watch their story posts to find a baker near you, and then buy directly from the seller through their account. Some bakers will raffle off a bake, others let customers bid to win, and many sell baked goods and treat boxes at a fixed donation price.

“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.

"How Many Aren't Filmed?” a cake for Black lives. (📸: @sarahjeanette_)

“This group has helped me learn and grow and do my own education,” Sarah said. “A good way for people to learn what’s going on is to step out of your own bubble and into someone else’s shoes… I’m glad more people are paying attention.”

In the future, Bakers for Change plans to raise money for mental health organizations for underserved youths, water access on Native American reservations, environmental justice, reproductive rights, and organizations reuniting migrant families.

In addition to the virtual fundraisers, Bakers for Change is selling merch designed by Sophia, with 100% of the proceeds going to the charity of choice, as well as hosting occasional decorating classes. If you’d like to whip something up for their next sale, find out more info at bakersforchange.org.

“We’ve been so lucky to have such a great turn out of Pittsburgh bakers,” Kait said. “I love the community we’ve built, and I love having this creative and political outlet.”

I Spy Pittsburgh!

How’s your yinzer knowledge?

Why not put it to the test by becoming a member? Today our members are getting an exclusive round of I Spy in their newsletters where we challenge them to guess where to find the image above. Winners get a shoutout in the newsletter and sweet bragging rights. Join us as an Incline Insider and get access to members-only content right here in your morning newsletter.

Ready to join? Come spy with us.

Get in on the fun by becoming an Incline Insider today.

Today

📜 Learn from a local historian about how advertisers focused on women as mothers and caregivers at "'A Great Blessing to Women': Tonics, Temperance, and the 19th-Century Patent Medicine Industry" (Online)

📣 Listen to brave women as they tell their true, personal stories about overcoming the professional challenges, adventures, and mishaps that shaped their identities and careers at Ellevate Pittsburgh’s Story Slam (Online)

📚 Explore “The Jewish Record Collection on Ancestry” and pick up some research tips with this Heinz History Center workshop (Online)

Tomorrow

🗣 Pick up some communication tips from local leaders in the field at this event hosted by the Communication Department at Chatham University (Online)

🎞️ Watch "The Rest," presented by the CMU International Film Festival, a film highlighting the long, tumultuous road for refugees by famed Chinese director and artist Ai Weiwei + a post-screening discussion (Online)

📰 Join award-winning Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman for "How to Be a White Ally (and a Good Black Friend): A modest proposal for uncancelled times" (Online)

🌲 Experience "forest bathing," a practice to slow down, awaken the senses, and notice what’s new in nature at Frick Park (Squirrel Hill) (Frick Park )

Friday

👩 Celebrate women composers at Pittsburgh Opera's free "Women's March" concert exploring 900 years of music (Online)

👗 Shop smart this spring – find everything business casual and professional at the Dress for Success Pittsburgh Fill a Bag (FAB) Presale (Bloomfield)

🍎 Tune in to this virtual event honoring Gisele Fetterman and Leah Lizarondo with the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership’s 2021 Exemplary Leader Award for their commitment to serving the community (Online)

🌱 Turn your kitchen scraps into a new garden with Venture Outdoors and Grow Pittsburgh (Virtual)

💡 Get inspired by women who are electrifying the neon industry and learn about their perspectives in a male-dominated field at a virtual artist talk with the Pittsburgh Glass Center and She Bends (Online)

Saturday

🦉 Take the family for a hike through Frick Park and end with bird-feeder crafting (Frick Park)

Monday

👗 Shop smart this spring – find everything business casual and professional at the Dress for Success Pittsburgh Fill a Bag (FAB) Sale — through Wednesday (Bloomfield)

Tuesday

🇮🇪 Dive into Irish genealogy in this workshop through Heinz History Center and get a chance to ask your questions of the experts (Online)

👗 Shop smart this spring – find everything business casual and professional at the Dress for Success Pittsburgh Fill a Bag (FAB) Presale (Shadyside) (Bloomfield)

One more thing …

Head on over to the Bakers for Change “meet us” page to learn a little bit more about the women behind this group. I’m so inspired by their ability to put action into their passions and I can’t wait to order my sweet treats! I don’t know how I’m going to choose...

Know another local person/group making a difference in a fun way? Hit reply and share it with me.

That’s enough sweet talkin’ for today. See you back here tomorrow!

— Francesca at The Incline

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