Coffee Company Aims to End The Cycle of Incarceration

Mike de la Rocha and Richard Cabral of Tepito CoffeePhoto: Mike de la Rocha / Tepito Coffee

Mike de la Rocha is one of only two men in his family who hasn't been in prison at some point in his life.

But even though he hasn't personally been in prison, he says, when one family member is incarcerated, the ENTIRE family suffers.

Mike says part of the issue is that there is no real support from the system or society to help those once they are released transition back into real life. Because of that, too many people fall back into their old habits and end up right back in jail.

Mike wanted to do something about it. So he teamed up with actor Richard Cabral of FX's 'Mayans MC,' and they co-founded Tepito Coffee, a company whose aim is to help provide support for these men and women and give them a path to a better life.

Tepito Coffee productsPhoto: Mike de la Rocha / Tepito Coffee

Richard knows about this situation first hand. He is a former gang member who served his first prison sentence when he was just 13 years old. But eventually, he connected with Homeboy Industries and they helped him stay out of the system and led him on the path to becoming a successful actor.

Tepito now partners with Homeboy Industries and the two companies work to help as many people as possible.

Mike says not only do they help those coming out of the system...they have another goal, to connect communities and build a bridge between the U.S. and Mexico. The coffee they feature is produced on a farm in Veracruz, Mexico, and the decision to produce coffee there was a deliberate one.

He told Spectrum News:

"We sell coffee, but it's really rooted in this desire to build bridges in the community amongst people that identify as Chicano or Latinx.
We really want to center the misfits and those of us that seem like we're disposable, and change the narrative to that everyone has value. Coffee is going to be the way that we love up on all aspects of our culture and ourseles."

Check out Jane's interview with both Mike and Richard.

Check out their website.

Follow Tepito Coffee on Instagram and Facebook.

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