Pewter Spoon brings awareness to violence in Ethiopia

Pewter Spoon brings awareness to violence in Ethiopia

by Kate Hill

CAZENOVIA — Pewter Spoon Café and Eatery in Cazenovia recently announced its decision to stop purchasing and serving Ethiopian coffees until March 15.

Located at 87 Albany St., Pewter Spoon is owned by Pat Carmeli and managed by her daughters Ava and Dana.

The cafe has joined a number of coffee shops across the country in an effort to raise awareness of human rights violations against the Tigrayans, an ethnic group in the Tigray Region of Northern Ethiopia.

“Since Nov. 2020, there has been a government-imposed blackout in the Tigray northern region of Ethiopia,” explained Dana. “There are reports of children, pregnant women, and innocent men being killed. As we understand it, the government is attempting to ethnically cleanse the Tigrayan people simply because they are a different ethnic group. Although this conflict doesn’t directly involve Ethiopia’s massive coffee-growing industry, we are aware of the incredible demand for Ethiopian coffees in specialty coffee shops all over the U.S. We hope that our refusal to supply the coffee will shed light on what’s happening.”

The co-manager added that the intention of the temporary boycott is not to harm individual coffee farmers, but instead to encourage an important local and national conversation.

According to Dana, Pewter Spoon drew inspiration from Omna Tigray, a non-profit organization that called for a month-long boycott of Ethiopian coffees from Feb. 15 through March 15.

“All of the credit for this effort belongs to the Omna Tigray group, which I was made aware of after listening to The Cxffeeblack Podcast.

Omna Tigray was founded by a collective of international Tigrayans with a mission to “effectively advocate for an end to the war, call for unrestricted humanitarian aid to the Tigrayan people, and promote the economic development of Tigray.”