workers' rights

Restaurants Nationwide Are Vowing to Act As Sanctuaries for Immigrants

The groups says restaurants are America’s “front lines of discrimination and hate.” Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Getty Images

D.C. restaurants are ready to irritate Trump by donating inauguration weekend sales to causes he doesn’t particularly support, but a new group is vowing to go rogue against the president-elect, if necessary. The Sanctuary Restaurants Movement, as it’s called, is a group of several dozen eateries that have committed to ensuring immigrants, Muslims, gays and lesbians, or anyone else who feels threatened by the incoming administration has a safe place to eat and work. The movement was started by two aid groups with strong ties to the industry — ROC United and — “in recognition of the fact that restaurant workers are on the front lines of discrimination and hate in America,” the official press release says. “All of our brothers and sisters in the restaurant industry deserve to have their dignity and humanity recognized, both at work and at home.”

Member restaurants say they’ll “resist hate and harassment in the industry” based on citizenship status, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. They also pledge to post a “Sanctuary Restaurants: A Place at the Table for Everyone” sign somewhere prominent (which could certainly single them out as a target), and join a peer network created by the aid groups to discuss strategies for protecting at-risk workers.

ROC United’s website has posted “a sample” of spots that already signed onto the cause. The list spans a pretty wide variety, from the Michigan deli chain Zingerman’s and La Palapa in Manhattan, to a place called Bob’s Clam Hut in coastal Maine and of course Colors, the ROC United–run mini-chain whose Lower East Side location is expected to reopen soon on Stanton Street.

Restaurants Are Vowing to Act As Sanctuaries for Immigrants