Senator Becker Names the Reach and Teach Independent Bookstore The Small Business of the Year for the 13th Senate District
SACRAMENTO – Independent San Mateo bookstore Reach and Teach and its co-owners, work and life partners Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi, were honored today at the California Small Business Association’s annual celebration of California small businesses selected for outstanding recognition by their state legislators.
Senator Josh Becker, D-Peninsula, named Reach and Teach the 2022 Small Business of the Year for the 13th Senate District for offering books, toys, puzzles, games, teaching and learning resources as well as fair trade gifts that advance themes of peacemaking, social justice, gender equality, human rights and sustainability.
“Craig, Derrick and Reach and Teach focus on the community values and world values we greatly prize in the 13th Senate District,” said Senator Becker. “The personal learning journey that led Craig and Derrick to take up this mission is as spirited, inspiring and fun as the business they’ve built together. I’m proud to name Reach and Teach the 2022 Small Business of the Year for the 13th Senate District.”
“Twenty years ago, a high school student told us we should quit our day jobs and dedicate our lives to teaching about peacemaking and social justice. That's how Reach and Teach was born,” said Craig Wiesner. “It was good advice and we're grateful to have our work recognized in such a beautiful and meaningful way.”
“Reach and Teach's customers have shown that they want their gift-giving to have a positive impact on the world,” said Derrick Kikuchi. “Thank you, Senator Becker, for recognizing us as a 2022 California Small Business of the Year.”
The inspiration came from an #SD13 student after the spouses gave a talk at Palo Alto High School in 2003. The pair traveled to El Salvador during 2000, speaking and staying with survivors of civil war. It strengthened the pair’s beliefs about peacemaking and further travel followed. Then, the two traveled with an interfaith delegation to Afghanistan after the September 11 attack on the US and the subsequent military offensive in Afghanistan that led to the fall of the Taliban. As part of the arrangement, Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi agreed that after their return, they’d share their experiences in Afghanistan, talking about what they saw, the conversations they had with people caught between warring forces, and the impact on the couple’s world view. Their talk at Palo Alto High School coincided with what became the first phase of the Iraq War in 2003.
On their store website, they quote the student who led them to make their avocation their vocation. “I don't know what you two do for a living, but whatever it is you should stop. This is what you need to be doing. This is how kids like me need to learn about the world.”
"This is a message Craig and Derrick have taken to heart ever since,” said Senator Becker. “I’m delighted we honored them today and welcomed them, as well as store manager Shelby Olson, to our State Capital.”
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