ROC: Now, there are ‘sanctuary restaurants,’ too

First, there were sanctuary cities. Then there were sanctuary congregations. Then there was a sanctuary union, the American Federation of Teachers. And now, the union-supported Restaurant Opportunities Center adds, there are “sanctuary restaurants,” too. Lots of them.

And ROC joined with other organizations to launch that movement “to resist hate and harassment in the industry” against its Latino and Latina workers.

ROC and the other backers are providing “information and support” to thousands of workers put in peril by the GOP Trump administration’s new deportation orders. Though Trump and his staff say the orders target people with criminal records, the actual texts are broader.

Basically, the orders say anyone who is or may be charged with a crime – and they don’t specify what type of crime – can be picked up and deported.

The orders set off huge protests among Latino and Latina restaurant workers, both documented and undocumented, on Feb. 16. Hundreds of thousands struck for a day and thousands of restaurants closed.

The Sanctuary Restaurant Project gives “support and resources to restaurant workers, employers and consumers impacted by hostile policies and actions, including immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQI people and others,” its website says. “Restaurateurs from across the nation are signing up to stand with workers and their families as Sanctuary Restaurants.”

Those restaurants pledge to ban harassment of anyone based on their immigrant or refugee status, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. They’re putting prominent “Sanctuary Restaurant” placards in their windows. And they’re exchanging information with ROC and presente.org about ways to protect their workers.

“The Sanctuary Restaurants Movement launches in recognition of the fact that restaurant workers are on the front lines of discrimination and hate in America. All of our brothers and sisters in the restaurant industry deserve to have their dignity and humanity recognized, both at work and at home,” their website adds.

“Sanctuary Restaurants seeks to create the world we want – establishments free from hate and discrimination, where everyone has a seat at the table.”

The website, www.sanctuaryrestaurants.org, now has a list of more than 200 participating eateries, and wants consumers to patronize them in a show of solidarity with the workers. And if customers see discrimination or threats to workers, they should text TABLE to 225568 “to get immediate support.”

So far 32 restaurants in New York and Brooklyn are participating, along with 22 in Chicago, five in its suburbs, four in Minneapolis, three in Detroit, four in Los Angeles, one each in Costa Mesa and Garden Grove, Calif., 12 in San Francisco, 11 in Oakland and six in D.C. There’s even one participating eatery in Moscow, Idaho, and another in Salt Lake City.

Source: PAI