Najeé Fletcher of Conway, Arkansas decided to educate the community and create a home state connection with the launch of the Daisy Bates beverage at THINK Coffee.
February is Black History Month. A celebration meant to educate others on the challenges faced by Black individuals and create community awareness of hardships. As a Black woman, Fletcher feels she has a responsibility to share her culture and where she comes from.
Fletcher is a barista at THINK Coffee and a student at the Creative Institute in Central Arkansas. Through her creative endeavors, she has married her love for food and beverages with her creative endeavors, thus The Daisy Bates was created.
The creation of the drink honoring Frederick Douglass and Black History Month in February 2021 had such a good turnout that it inspired her to keep going every year. This year her goal was to create a beverage paying tribute to an Arkansas native.
“I wanted to highlight an African American activist that was from Arkansas to bring it close to home. I wanted to make specialty drinks after these amazing people [Daisy Bates and Frederick Douglass] who’ve done so much for African Americans,” said Fletcher.
With this yearning to highlight an activist, Fletcher created an iced vanilla and brown sugar latte with chocolate macadamia nut cold foam with the mission for drinkers to “learn and be educated” about the woman whom the drink is named after.
“I did some research and learned about Daisy Bates, she battled ending segregation in Arkansas. She gathered the 9 students integrating into Central High School in Little Rock. The world knows them as the Little Rock Nine. Bates worked within the NAACP, The Arkansas Weekly, and worked as hard as she could to make a change in Arkansas,” said Fletcher.
Fletcher constantly strives to educate those around her in a positive, fun, and uplifting way. She explained that she doesn’t want “people to forget our history or turn a blind eye,” but emphasized that “learning can be fun” and you should “educate but make it fun!”
Be sure to check out The Daisy Bates drink at any of the THINK locations throughout February, and you can find Fletcher managing the Harkrider location of THINK Coffee or snapping pictures at The Creative Institute downtown.
Wrapping it up
Raven Nobles is the Assistant Art Walk Coordinator at The Studio Downtown. After transferring from Hendrix to the University of Central Arkansas, then a pandemic hitting, Raven has truly learned what it means to pivot and thrive in the midst of chaos. As a senior Public Relations student, her passion is cultivating lasting relationships through effective communication with those around her. In her free time, she enjoys running, writing, reading, and the more than occasional thrifting trip. – Raven is UCA chapter president of Public Relations Student Society of America – She is a member of BearsServe Leader at UCA – Connect with Raven on Instagram and LinkedIn providing public service through BearsServe Leaders and Public Relations Student Society of America.