If you live near the quaint New England town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, chances are you've eaten a donut from Allie's at some point in your lifetime. They're filled with sugary goodness, covered in fun sprinkles, and now immersed in the conversation surrounding police brutality in America. 

On June 6th, Allie's posted an Instagram story that read: We're fed up. Until local police takes action to stop problems with racism and injustice, @alliesdonuts will choose to stand with the people of our great state. We will no longer be offering police and military discounts. Thank you for your service, and shame on you for your silence. The post was made in response to an alleged racial profiling incident of a firefighter in Providence.

A few days following the incident, Allie's released a statement standing by their decision. It's time to recognize the voices & stand with our fellow Black and Brown Rhode Islanders, who want to be treated equally, the post said. 

Allie's has faced significant backlash, name-calling, and protests from racist Rhode Islanders and beyond who are vehemently upset with losing their 10% donut discount. Posts read: "Why not come out and say the Police and Military aren’t welcome? Too afraid to really say what you feel? My $$ go elsewhere," "You can't 'unburn a bridge...' You made the fatal mistake of bringing politics into your business... now you have to deal with the consequences," and "You have aligned yourselves with the people and organizations who seek the destruction of the United States of America. Shame on you." 

The backlash for the post has also moved off social media and on to the streets of North Kingstown as well. Many former military and police officers engaged in protests in front of the donut shop. In another video, owner Matt Drescher recognized that many of his employees have received threats and have elected to forgo working for their own personal safety.

Despite the controversy, many social justice organizations have backed Allie's decision to forgo the discount. The shop also pledged to donate the proceeds from one Sunday's sale to Rhode Island Communities for Justice, the Providence Student Union, and Amos House: three community organizations working to advance equity in the state.

As a New Englander, I applaud Allie's efforts to support the advancement of justice-related causes in their community. For me (and I'm sure many others feel this way), it's not about the discount; it's about holding historically-violent institutions accountable for years of racially-motivated injustices. Seeing businesses just post black squares on their Instagram or adding #BlackLivesMatter to their posts is infuriating because it does next to nothing to change systemic oppression. Donating proceeds to community causes? That's a step in the right direction, but what might it look like to be a tad bit more radical in dismantling racist and classist institutions? 

I guess this conversation warrants a clear separation of active and passive forms of resistance. While sharing posts on social media does help to spread information, it doesn't actively solve the problem of racial injustice, but rather acts as a precursor to more active forms of resistance. In other words, while we certainly need education, it doesn't stop there. 

Did Allie's take it a step too far? Was their decision too "woke" for the (very white) state of Rhode Island? Or are we just scared of the bigger significance of private business actively doing something about issues that matter to their community? 

While you ponder those questions, I will be calling Allie's to ask about their vegan options, as well as how I can get a delicious box of their donuts sent to my doorstep. And I highly suggest you do the same. 

Check out my other post on racial justice and the food system here.