Former Madison politician makes bread to feed the racial justice movement

By Joel Waldinger | October 19, 2022


For former Madison politician Mo Cheeks, the art of sourdough bread making started as a hobby. The pandemic provided a chance to perfect his baking skills and make a difference in the world around him. “As I was thinking about how to process the realities of injustice in our country. I found myself with a number of sleepless nights. There was something about handmaking the dough that had now become a source of therapy for me.”

The racial justice movement provided the missing ingredient for combing two of Mo’s passions. Mo started a micro-bakery in his home kitchen mixing a dash of joy with activism. “It’s called Bread and Justice because I originally created it with community in mind for folks who cared deeply about justice, and also care about being able to enjoy fresh local handmade bread. So, we started selling it as a fundraiser.”

Sleepless nights have now given way to early morning wake-up calls to make bread. He also launched a Bread and Justice newsletter sharing stories and details about his bake sales. 100-percnet of his proceeds are donated to non-profits fighting for racial justice.

Mo’s efforts are not going unnoticed. The World Bread Awards selected him as “Bread hero of the Midwest” for 2021. With that recognition comes a sense of satisfaction. “I’m really proud to be practicing what I preach in terms of doing something to feed the community and knowing that it’s feeding, not only people’s bellies, but hopefully people’s souls as well. The biggest thing that I take away from Bread and Justice is a reminder that there are so many good people out there that really want to be a part of making the world a better place.”

Joel Waldinger

Joel Waldinger

Joel Waldinger is a reporter for the “Wisconsin Life” project and considers a sunset over the “big island” on Manson Lake to be a perfect ending to a day of fishing and fun in the Northwoods. 

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