Do we make an impact?

by MikeDemo | Last Updated: September 27, 2020

Being exclusionary isn’t very punk rock of anyone.

Tori Baggett

So, people don’t always know this about me, but I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I have dated guys in the past, and I am attracted to men and women and non-binary people.

Why don’t people know this about me? Because I am married to a wonderful woman. This is where I ordinarily lose people. I have never understood why people can’t understand that being in a relationship is separate from sexual identity?

I used to be scared to tell people, and I was by all accounts closeted, but I decided to be more open to help other people. And that is what this blog post is about.

Those that know me know that I am passionate about community building. I recently saw a mini-documentary from Help Scout called “Against the grain,” which featured how Death Wish Coffee does things differently. It’s an excellent watch for anyone that works in community building.

That got me to make a purchase of their Cauldron-Aged Pumpkin coffee to try it for myself. I decided to email the Death Wish Coffee owner and founder with the following email:


I love your approach to community, and I thought I have not seen you do any products to support the LGBTQA+ community. I even posted this question in your Facebook Group. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. 

I would buy and support; however, I can.



Email to Death Wish Coffee

This was his reply:

Hey Mike,

Thanks for reaching out.

I like the sound of that, “Death Wish Pride.” Great idea to support the LGBTQA+ community. I’ll kick it around with the team. Awesome.

Have a great weekend,

Mike Brown

Reply from Death Wish Coffee

That response was tremendous and not at all surprising based on what I have seen about how they run their company. Death Wish Coffee has a long history of supporting many great causes. It also made it clear about something people forget all too often:

Asking for help or clarification can impact significant change.

This question I posted in their Official Facebook Group:

“Anyone know if Death Wish has done any mugs, shirts, or products for Pride?”

My post on The Official Death Wish Coffee Company Community

I was blown away at the positive responses:

How cool would a rainbow glaze be?

Jennifer O’Malley

That would be awesome!!! 

Jamie Mathews Heustess

That would be another got to have mug.

Ricky Schnarr

Think that would be a cool idea. Would like to see how it would turn out. 

Terry Neal

I was also shocked at the many bigoted comments to just that simple question. 86% of reactions were positive (like, care or love), while 13.92% of responses were negative (sad, angry, or laugh). Think about that for a second. In a community of over 11k members, 13.92% of the reactions on my simple question were negative.

The moderators did a good job keeping that out of the thread, but it got me thinking. How does this relate to our own communities?

A community code of conduct is critical.

An exact code of conduct will set the tone of the community you want to curate. What are the values that you want to foster? I would start by looking at the Contributor Covenant version to get started.

MikeDemo and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

This all happened on Friday, where I had one of the hardest personal days I have experienced in a long time. I was at a shallow point, and I got the following direct message from a member of the Death Wish Coffee community:

You just did and started something great without even trying… Only by asking a simple question. Hats off, mugs up, happy Friday. Much peace and love from your new trucker coffee drinking friend.

A Facebook Direct Message (Author Redacted)

This was just the start. I started getting many more positive comments when I posted the update that the owner sent me. This made me remember that it is not about us but about the communities we serve.

Did this make my day magically better? No, but it reminded me about why I love community building as much as I do. Have a servant’s heart, and the business needs will take care of themselves.