Lessons from Iris Adriana Castillo
BY KERRI BROWN
What is the cost of my labor? It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves during at least one month out of the year. The requests to “pick our brains” or “share our experiences” start to come in just before our respective communities’ heritage/history/awareness month. A time that most of us would likely prefer to spend reflecting or celebrating with our communities suddenly becomes what feels like an exposé of our communities’ angst and traumas.
We’re asked to speak, write, listen, promote, and share as if we’re given more hours in the day during “our” months. We often don’t have the time, and (here’s the kicker) those requesting our time say that they don’t have the money. The logic, I assume, is that there is a difference between sharing lived experience and sharing professional experience, and the former is, quite literally, “priceless.” Still, it is exactly in the context of our professions that we are often asked to give our testimony to social inequalities, a testimony that is inevitably based on our lived experiences.
We simply say “no” to these requests and attempt to not let them ruin our day (or month). They are so common that we become too exhausted to organize efforts against them. But what happens when we do organize, when we expose those who make these kinds of requests, and when we ask for support from our communities?
I had the privilege of speaking to Iris Adriana Castillo, Tasting Room Manager at the Rare Barrel + Hello Friend Beer in Berkeley, who did just that. Her story is instructive, showing how these types of requests are rooted in violently enforced hierarchies around labor and compensation.
This story is a collaboration between Beer Is For Everyone and Women of the Bevolution.