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Equal Minded Cafe owner brings positive impact through coffee

Equal Minded Cafe
Posted at 10:39 AM, Jul 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-05 11:39:59-04

Equal Minded Cafe, a coffee shop located at 4327 Troost Ave. in Kansas City, Missouri, is known for its chai tea.

However, the space isn't only used to brew coffee and tea, it also hosts a number of different community events.

"I really had this idea of wanting to create a space that gives back to youth in a way that I never have and provides positive role models, community engagement, provides opportunities, resources, benefits to everyone in the community really," owner Dontavious Young said. "We have the event space, which we've held over 1000 different events in. We've worked with over 250 businesses, startups, pop ups, you name it, a lot of positivity, positive events. Young people are able to see adults having fun."

For Young, the focus is in his name, connecting with the young through coffee.

"We want to teach the kids how to roast, teaching them about coffee history and the product itself and building that as a brand," Young said.

Young's focus is creating a positive impact, something he says he didn't always experience growing up.

"For me, it starts with the fact that when I was 13 years old, my best friend was killed and murdered being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he said. "He took a bullet meant for someone that was meant for somebody else."

The tragedy Young faced set his life on a new track.

"When that happened, it kind of like triggered something in me where I saw my environment, I saw the role models that we had available and I didn't want to end up like that," Young said. "I actually got his name tattooed right here and I also got this dedication when I was 14 years old and I went and got a job."

Young said he was looking for a change himself.

"All of my friends from that time, every single one of them almost, is either dead, they've been to prison for five years plus or they're still in prison. They're on the run, or they've been shot multiple times," Young said. "That's majority of my friends growing up and so it's isolated me a lot in life but it's also given me a lot of time to think about what I want to do and what kind of impact I want to have."

Now, he's leaving his legacy through coffee, open conversation and connection.

"That is a catalyst to us being able to promote conversations that are unethical in other places, us being able to give connections that they never would've had anywhere. From east and west of Troost, from Kansas and Missouri, from the west side and this side," Young said. "So I just really want everyone to feel welcome and talk about anything in here and find solutions to any of their problems."

It can start with a cup of coffee.

"A place where everybody can feel welcome, but also feel comfortable building up this community no matter who you are," Young said. "And that's how it starts for all communities to make a change."

Young recently won second place in Porter House KC's pitch competition, and was awarded $4000.