Goodbye Goya Beans: The Saddest Boycott Ever
With deep regret, I am saying a tearful goodbye to Goya Foods. I hate when my plate becomes politicized, but as a African American woman, I simply can’t understand how Robert Unanue, CEO of Goya Foods can support this administration’s biased, cruel, and inhumane immigration policies and enforcement.
I love America’s idea of freedom of speech and choice (even though we need to work on its biased application and practice). I respect Robert Unanue’s right to share his political views. However, now as a social justice advocate and consumer, this forces me to make a decision. I don’t have political clout, but money is power and every dollar we spend supports companies that contribute millions of our dollars to policies and politicians that either that help or harm, uplift or further oppress our communities.
I have to make sure my purchases align with my values and Goya Foods’ CEO does not! To call the traumatic separation of children from their parents, children and adults detained in subpar conditions without basic necessities like food, water, or health care, and to deport them without proper representation or due process or tracking … “a blessing” is unfathomable and delusional. To show such disregard for human life makes me question the company’s business practice. How can he praise human rights violations, and care about the people who source and process our food?
I can’t buy Goya foods in good faith anymore. However, if you’re like me — already Goya products in our cabinets and pantry and I say use them… I’m on a limited budget and I don’t believe in food waste. I would never advocate for anyone to throw out good food because so many people are hungry, it’s wasteful and bad for the environment. I’m going to use all my previously purchased Goya products because I can’t change the past, but I can do my due diligence and make conscious decisions about my all my future purchases.
This is going to hurt
Like so many POC in America and around the world, Goya was my family’s go to brand for beans and Adobo seasoning for many years. It was a pantry staple like Old Bay Seasoning and hot sauce…
I love food and especially love cooking and learning the history of ethnic foods that connect me to different cultures in the African diaspora — like Jamaican and Puerto Rican dishes. That’s why words cannot express how disappointed and sad I am to add Goya to the list of food brands that I no longer support.
This is also going to hurt because I’m a foodie and I’m loyal to brands I like…I think we all struggle with this. Other brands have faltered, but it didn’t affect me like this…I’m not into coffee, so while my friends and colleagues struggled to justify their return to Starbucks — I still give them side eye. But, I finally broke down and went back to Whole Foods after three months because they claim they’re working to improve their policies, but they admittedly have the best selection of fresh, local and organic produce and meats…
But during my departure from WholeFoods, I explored other grocery chains and Cousins, Supremo and Wegmans are growing on me…And I will always support our local community gardens, co-ops and farmer’s markets.
I’m sharing this story because I want people to understand the importance of making informed decisions about their money. Every dollar counts! My boycott won’t mean anything to Goya, but imagine if every Hispanic, Latin, African American, Caribbean and Desi family stopped buying Goya -that would make a massive impact! That’s literally MILLIONS of dollars that could go to a minority owned business that does support equitable and fair policies.
Although there have been many debates about the inner struggles between Black and Hispanic communities, at the end of the day, the Civil Rights Movement fought for equality and justice for everyone and still does!
Soaking for social justice
Now the movement has literally hit home and until I find a socially responsible ethnic food company, I have to start soaking and cooking my beans and find an alternative to Goya’s Adobo seasoning.
When I make Caribbean dishes, most of my ingredients came from Goya because a lot of stores don’t sell a variety of ethnic food brands. I primarily bought their beans because they’re an affordable, filling, protein. When the budget is tight, you can do a lot with a can of beans. You can make Jamaican, Mexican or Puerto Rican beans and rice (with different kinds of beans). You can also turn them into a veggie burgers and make soups and salads.
Cooking dry beans can be a little more labor-intensive, but it’s worth the effort. They need to soak overnight, and simmer for long periods of time and the summer presents an additional challenge. However, I refuse to give another dime to a company that does not support basic human rights and “liberty and justice for all”. So for everyone else who may have heard the sad news and they too are choosing not to purchase Goya, I urge you to help us find a socially responsible brand and start using or buy a crock pot or safe pressure cooker (I hear they make tasty tender beans in half the time).
I am making the conscious decision to literally put my money where my mouth is and prioritize equity and humanity over sentiment and convenience. Until EVERYONE is safe and free, Black and Brown lives are valued, respected and treated with dignity…
Until ALL systems have fair, equitable policies that protect and ensure the rights and dignity of every person regardless of their appearance, socioeconomic class, citizenship status, age, orientation, self or perceived identity , etc. I will continue to cook with intention and simmer my beans and every dish in solidarity!
I urge everyone to do the same! One person can do something good — but together we do great things and change the world one vote, one dollar, one policy at a time!
Power to the people and may all OUR brands support equity and our food be flavorful and seasoned with “justice for all” not just the powerful and privileged!