group of volunteers holding sweet potatoes

About

Responding to the Call – Keeping Our Eyes on the Pies!

Ferguson, Missouri

AUGUST 9, 2014 … another bloody hot day. There I sat in the comfort of my air- conditioned home watching media coverage of another Black mother’s son lying lifeless on a scorching asphalt street … this time in Ferguson, Missouri. Like others prior, the news of Michael Brown’s death tore at my heart as I thought, that could have been my son. I ached for the unknown mother who would never again hear a response to her call, “Come on inside baby, it’s time to eat!”

And so I wept.

Escalating hotter than the weather was the tremendous tension of the protests. As I viewed eyes filled with anger and fear flash across my television screen, I asked myself, what can I do? There came a soft yet clear response (I believe from God): “Go into your kitchen, make some sweet potato pies, pack your car, and deliver them down to Ferguson.” And so I did.

On Friday, August 29, 2014, at the crack of dawn, my son Adam and I hit the road with thirty freshly-baked sweet potato pies in the trunk of my car. My pastor daughter, Roslyn, created a poem to accompany each pie (see The Pie) Upon arrival, first, I asked permission of each person as I offered them a gift of a pie and soon discovered that each one had something to share about how the pie had come at just the right time. And so I listened.

~Rose McGee

Baketivism

The events in Ferguson MO were the beginning of Rose McGee’s special brand of BAKETIVISM – using the process of baking, sharing, talking and reflecting to create change in our world.

Since that fateful day, Sweet Potato Comfort Pie has continued to deliver healing, hope, and much-needed conversation to communities impacted by the violence of systemic racism. See more about our activities.

It’s a 3-Part Process…

Call to Bake

1.

The call to bake! Usually this is in response to a pressing issue or community in pain. Since COVID, bakers have not been gathering to bake, but have been baking in solidarity in their own kitchens. Strict food safety protocols are observed.

2.

Sharing the pies. Pies are brought into the community. Many times, arriving on scene with pies results in coincidence, conversation, and catharsis for those who both give and receive the pies.

Rose Pulling Pies from the Oven
Rose Pulling Pies from the Oven

3.

Reflections. Everyone involved with the bake or delivery gathers to process their experience. This is a key part of the tradition, and one which deepens understanding and community.
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Community stories

“Who knew baking a pie could be so transformative. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, helplessness, fear and rage boiled in my heart. Over the course of baking with others that night (in our own homes), sharing texts of our pies, and filling my home with sweet smells, I was profoundly soothed. The tears fell. And I slept for the first time that week.”

~Barb, Pie Baker