San Diego Restaurants Aim To Keep Intolerance Away With #HateHasNoBizHere Posters
Ever since the presidential race revealed a deep division in America, incidents of hate and harassment over a person’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status and sexual orientation have made headlines across the country, including here in San Diego.
In a sign of unity with San Diegans from all backgrounds, local restaurant owners in three neighborhoods are encouraging nearby businesses to post a sign that identifies their establishments as a welcoming place.
Juan Pablo Sanchez, who runs Super Cocina restaurant in City Heights, was one of three business owners Thursday who walked storefront-to-storefront with posters for nearby establishments to display. The signs say "Hate Has No Business Here" and include the hashtag #HateHasNoBizHere for social media. The effort is part of a campaign to promote acceptance amid a divisive time.
Sanchez said he has heard from his employees and community members that some in the neighborhood are worried. His Super Cocina restaurant is a fixture in the community, which boasts a large Hispanic population and is home to immigrants and refugees from many countries, including Syria, Ethiopia, Somalia and Burma.
“The news is focused on some of the backlash, little bit of racist things that have happened, stuff like that so it’s definitely — in a community as diverse as City Heights — it hits home,” Sanchez said. “People are afraid that might creep here.”
Plus, Sanchez said, promoting the campaign is also financially beneficial.
"We promote that if you have an open business that accepts everyone, it's better for business all around," he said.
The owners of Ponce's restaurant in Kensington and Meshuggah Shack in Mission Hills also participated in the flyer-distribution event.
The “All Are Welcome Here” campaign comes from the pro-small business nonprofit Main Street Alliance, which recently launched a chapter in San Diego. Karim Bouris, the local project director, said the movement launched in other cities last year and again after the mass shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub in June.
“About a year ago, the Main Street Alliance at a national level partnered with MoveOn.org in response to some of the rhetoric we were hearing by then-candidate Trump around Mexican immigrants, around Muslims, refugees, and then we updated it in light of some of the rhetoric and the talk that came after the Pulse club shooting in Orlando.”
Since winning the election, Donald Trump has condemned the negative treatment of minorities. In an interview with 60 Minutes, the president-elect said he was "saddened" to hear about instances of harassment and instructed those responsible to "stop it."
In San Diego, there have been reports of a museum defaced with anti-immigrant graffiti, a Somali man attacked at a pizza restaurant and a Muslim student harassed and robbed on campus. The San Diego Police Department did not have data readily available to determine if the city is seeing an increase in hate crimes and incidents.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported a large number of hate incidents occurred across the U.S. immediately following Election Day, but has since said "the trend line points to a steady drop-off," according to a Nov. 18 update on its website.