This week Synergy Airwaves attended Sanctuary Restaurants, Sanctuary Bodies, a timely event hosted in Oakland by Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) Bay Area and ACCESS, a health justice organization inclusive of an English and Spanish Healthline.
The gathering was timely, in part because of ICE raids over the past weekend. Undocumented immigrants, especially those who aren’t white, continue to be a huge part of restaurant and agricultural sectors. These workers often make sub-minimum wages (less than minimum wage), often pay taxes, and are criminalized and stigmatized as unAmerican. In fact, undocumented workers pay millions in U.S. taxes—contributing to the overall wealth of this nation while never reaping any health or retirement benefits in return for their labor.
This past Valentine’s Day, all across America, many supporters of deportation dined out, eating food grown, prepared and served from immigrant labor. For many of those diners, there was no desire to understand where their food came from, how it arrived on the table and if their consumption had resulted in exploitation of any kind. That’s just too much to consider when one only wants to share a simple candlelit dinner and celebrate this bizarre holiday with their date, right? Well, for a large number of us in this country, the answer is no. It’s not too much to consider. In fact, in reference to a holiday about love – to ask these questions of where we choose to dine is the truest form of love we can give. To fight for the recognition that all people deserve the same rights and dignities and that no human is illegal – that is the only Valentine I ever wish to give to myself and others.
If you know someone who faces deportation, call us at 510.619.8809—we want to hear your story.
ABOUT ROC Bay Area: ROC Bay Area is one of ten chapters collectively fighting for industry workers rights, including trans*, women, POC, black and immigrant communities. They hold free training classes and advocate on behalf of fair wages across the country for tipped wage workers.
To join the campaign as a restaurant employer, staff or customer, visit: www.sanctuaryrestaurants.org
Recent News: This week on Democracy Now! Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman interviewed two leaders in the immigration rights movement, Abraham Paulos and Ravi Ragbir.