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Croton's Black Cow Coffeeshop Is Haven For Activists

Soli Pierce, far left, with fellow postcard writing attendees at The Black Cow Coffee Company in Croton. Photo Credit: Jeanne Muchnick
Sample postcards at The Black Cow Coffee Co. in Croton. Photo Credit: Jeanne Muchnick

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- It's beginning to look a little bit like a post office at The Black Cow Coffee Co . in Croton.

That's because, for the past five weeks, a host of area residents have commandeered a center table in the middle of the cafe for a postcard writing campaign complete with pens, postage, mailing labels, talking points and, of course, plenty of caffeine.

Cortland resident Soli Pierce, one of the organizers, said she's been shocked by the outpouring of support and community involvement ever since she and her friend, Croton resident Susannah Johnston, first approached Black Cow about letting them have the leeway to meet every Tuesday.

The first day they started -- at 9 a.m. -- they had 500 postcards ready to go. At 9:37, they ran out and had to print more.

"People need a place to go for their pent-up frustration," said Pierce.

"This is a great way to pool our dissatisfaction with the Trump administration in an effective, positive environment."

The group -- which ranges from five to 85 and from six to 25 people at either one or more tables -- averages 600 to 700 postcards a day. The goal is to send more than 10,000 by April.

And they're expanding. What used to be strictly a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. event every Tuesday at the coffee shop is now being offered around the corner at The Green Growler with a happy hour postcard campaign from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Tuesdays only.)

Nearby restaurant Tangine is also interested in starting something up, said Pierce.

And, she's gotten interest from groups in Florida and California. "This is something we want to replicate and build on," she said.

As it works now local artists -- Pierce is among them -- create the postcards and have them on the table for arrivals. Postage and pens are provided along with talking points so people can decide who they want to write to and what they want to say.

Fliers on the table cover a range of issues including immigration, refugees, education, women’s rights, presidential appointees and the environment. Addresses are also included. There is a collection box with nominal fees (think 75 cents a card) as a way to offset costs. Some people grab and go, but most tend to stay, at least for one cup of coffee.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28 some of the postcard writers wrote about saving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the need to denounce anti-Semitism. Many also wrote about Trump's alleged ties to Russia and the need to investigate.

Not all were directed towards the president. Among the pile were notes to Sen. Chuck Schumer, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Korkie Moore-Bruno of Cortlandt Manor said she's at Black Cow most Tuesdays as a way to do for those who don't have the free time she has. "I don't want this issue to go to the back of the store," she said. "He [Trump] is destroying our democracy and I will not let him do it."

Ginny Stillman of Ossining, a first-timer who was there with her young grandson, said it felt good coming in for coffee and having an opportunity to contribute her voice to the chorus. "It's empowering," she said of what is called "Postcard Tuesdays." "I'll be back."

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