Bellingham Comes Together to Support Students of Color

Yara Clark, '22

Since the beginning of 2020 our world has seen a series of changes that have introduced unprecedented challenge along with new opportunity. Closer to home we have seen Bellingham and the WWU communities come together to speak out against injustice and to support those who have been subjected to racism and violence.

Bellingham businesses have also stepped up to support students of color as they secure an education and a better future. Pure Bliss Desserts, Makeworth Market, Woods Coffee and Camber Coffee all stepped forward to help establish and support Black students through the newly created Western Stands for Racial Equity Fund and other scholarships.  

These funds will support recruitment and retention scholarships in honor and in memory of those who have confronted injustice for generations. The scholarships are an investment in a new generation of young Americans who are poised to become leaders and agents of change in their communities.

“We knew we wanted to donate to support the Black community, and we knew we wanted to do something locally,” said Dejah Kutrovski, marketing coordinator for Camber Coffee. “I am bi-racial and was reminded of some of the scholarships I received while in college that were specifically for students of color. We wanted to do the same for the Black students in our community.”  

This academic year, donations to the Western Stands for Racial Equity fund will help Black students receive the financial support they need to pursue their degrees at Western.  

“We know that all people are capable of amazing things,” said Wes Herman, CEO of Woods Coffee. “We have a flag that hangs in all of our stores which reads: ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ In a society where people of color face significant challenges in achieving their dreams, we desire to bridge the gap and provide financial opportunities to help make their dreams an obtainable reality.”

Frequented by students, Camber, Pure Bliss, Woods, and Makeworth are also demonstrating their commitment to having businesses that are inclusive, safe, and welcoming to people of color.