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'Activist bakers' Equality Cookies, delicious funding
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'Activist bakers' Equality Cookies, delicious funding

by James Whitely - SGN Contributing Writer 'Equality Cookies' are available now at Columbia City Bakery, in an effort to support the Approve Referendum 71 Campaign. The cookies sell for $1.50 each, $1 of which is donated directly to Washington Families Standing Together (WAFST).

Equality Cookies are heart-shaped shortbread cookies with various equality-themed icing designs and patterns. Rainbows, peace signs, hearts, and the HRC logo are what you can expect to see on these sweet treats, available from now until November 3.

The fundraising effort began Labor Day weekend, and in the first five days, 400 cookies were sold. The initial goal was to raise $3,000 for WAFST. Andrew Cleary, the manager of Columbia City Bakery, figured that if they did not reach the goal, he would contribute the rest of the donation - but now he believes the cookies will easily raise double his initial goal.

'The staff and ownership of our little bakery feel strongly that Washington's domestic partnership law needs to be preserved, and after putting our heads together we came up with this sweet idea,' said Cleary.

Cleary - who wears his 'Got the right to marry? I don't.' T-shirt every day - and his partner are personally affected by this issue.

'I've always had a very loud mouth & but last week when I learned that they had enough signatures, my pastry chef, Karra Wise, and I came up with the idea. We wanted to make sure that there's a daily reminder about the campaign.'

Like many, Cleary believes that visibility for this campaign is very important.

'I'm just worried that people won't vote,' Cleary told SGN.

Projects like this one provide huge amounts of visibility to this cause, and aside from raising money, help keep the campaign in people's minds.

'I am calling on other businesses to do the same,' says Cleary.

According to Cleary, about 20% of the people walking into his bakery over the past few days have been first-time customers who came in because they had heard about the Equality Cookie fundraiser. Not only is Columbia City Bakery raising money for the cause, but they're getting more customers.

'Imagine if Pagliacci [pizzeria] was able to do something like this,' said Cleary.

Clearly, Cleary has a point. If more local businesses took up the effort, raised money and visibility, or provided voter registration in their stores, this referendum would stand a much better chance for approval.

This is one of the first original grassroots ideas that has sprung up in support of the Approve Referendum 71 Campaign. Without being asked by anyone, the folks at Columbia City Bakery have taken this campaign head-on with their idea.

Columbia City Bakery is located at 4865 Rainier Ave S. More information can be found online at columbiacitybakery.com. More information on WAFST can be found at wafst.org.

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