Over the past week, Philly has joined the rest of the country in calling for an end to systemic racism and for justice for George Lloyd and other black men, women, and children killed by police officers. The civil actions against police brutality started Saturday, May 30, with marches through Center City and spread out into other neighborhoods and the suburbs.
On Tuesday, hundreds marched and chanted downtown for hours, shadowed by city and state police and the National Guard.
Many in Philly’s restaurant and food community, including owners of restaurants that were damaged when the unrest became violent, have spoken out in support of the protesters on social media and pledged donations to a variety of causes focused on social justice and advocacy. Here are a few organizations they’ve highlighted.
This is the Philly chapter of Black Lives Matter, a national organization founded in 2012 to create a world free of anti-blackness. The Philly group is organizing the protest marches that have been taking place in the city this week. “Black Lives Matter Philly is now and will remain an organization that is radically dedicated to and fundamentally grounded in the humanity of Black people, in the face of all structural and social forces that would seek to negate this fact,” a statement on social media starts. Here’s the full message:
The ultimate goal of this fund is to end cash bail in Philly, a system that keeps people who can’t afford to pay bail in prison while they await trial. In the meantime, while it works to change the system, the organization pays bail for those who can’t afford to. During the COVID-19 crisis, it’s been collaborating with the Philadelphia Bail Fund, another organization with the same mission, to quickly raise money to keep as many people as possible out of prison, where it’s impossible to follow social distancing guidelines.
The CookNSolo group, which includes Zahav, Federal Donuts, and other well-known Philly restaurants, announced it is donating its net proceeds this week to the Pennsylvania Lawyers for Social Equity, a nonprofit that provides free legal advice and representation to people who have a criminal record that may be hindering them from securing jobs, housing, and other opportunities. Actions include educating community leaders and elected officials and working toward systemic reform, organizing communities, and helping people with criminal records get expungements or pardons.
Minneapolis-based Reclaim the Block works to move money currently spent on the police force to other areas that promote community health and safety. In a petition to the Minneapolis City Council posted on its website, Reclaim the Block writes: “Our city is on fire, our people are hurting, and Black communities are crying out for health and safety in the midst of pandemic. Now is the time to invest in a safe, liberated future for our city. We can’t afford to keep funding MPD’s [Minneapolis Police Department’s] attacks on Black lives.”
Queen Village restaurant Fiore is donating to ODAAT, a Philly nonprofit that supports low-income and homeless people who are afflicted by addiction or HIV/AIDS through a variety of services, including providing transitional housing and employment readiness classes. Fiore specifically notes the organization’s Youth Recovery Mode, which focuses on helping kids through meal delivery, summer camp, mentorships, and other programs.
Restaurants like Armenian BYOB Apricot Stone donated to the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Founded in the 1950s by Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first black Supreme Court justice, the LDF is a prominent legal organization fighting for racial justice nationwide. The nonprofit works in a variety of areas, including criminal justice, economic justice, education, and political participation.
Lead by local chefs and activists Elijah Milligan, Stephanie Willis, Kurt Evans, and Aziza Young, the Cooking for the Culture program highlights black chefs in Philly through events like pop-up dinners. On Friday, June 5, at 1 p.m., the chefs will be at 52nd Street and Girard Avenue in West Philly giving out lunch boxes and essentials like toothbrushes, diapers, and masks to those in need. People who want to help out can donate goods, money, or their time (by volunteering on Friday). Monetary donations can be submitted through the website or through Willis, who is @eatpreplove on Venmo and $chefanienicole on Cash App. Another option: Restaurateur Ellen Yin is collecting donations (goods or money) at Fork in Old City. The Fork team will bring them to the West Philly site on Friday.