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Seattle Chefs and Restaurant Owners Express Support for Protesters Over the Weekend

Many showed solidarity with those seeking justice for George Floyd, whether it was through donations or advocacy efforts

A group of protesters gathering in downtown Seattle
Demonstrators gathers in Seattle over the weekend to protest police brutality.
AFP via Getty Images

Over the weekend, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Seattle, sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, held his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while detaining him.

These protests, which coincided with widespread demonstrations across the country, also arrived after years of mounting tensions between the community and the Seattle Police Department (SPD), as local leaders have long urged the city to institute more accountability and reform for police.

Most of the larger marches occurred downtown Saturday, May 30, spilling over onto I-5, the International District, and Capitol Hill, with protests in Bellevue Sunday. Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan instituted a curfew at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and Gov. Jay Inslee mobilized the national guard to King County.

Several local news outlets reported on some of the property damage, violent confrontations, and odd moments (such as one person walking briskly down the street carrying a cheesecake presumably lifted from nearby Cheesecake Factory). But they also acknowledged the deeply-embedded injustices, institutional racism, and anguish at the heart of the protests.

Despite the unrest and anxiety, many Seattle restaurants expressed their solidarity with the protesters, whether by donating to causes aligned with social justice or highlighting their focus on advocacy and more equitable hiring practices.

Here’s just a sampling of some of the messages restaurants and chefs shared on social media over the weekend.

Edouardo Jordan (JuneBaby, Salare, Lucinda Grain Bar)

Renee Erickson (Sea Creatures restaurant group)

Miki Sodos (Bang Bang Cafe, Bang Bang Kitchen, Cafe Petirrosso)

Capitol Hill ice cream shop Frankie & Jo’s

Beacon Hill Filipino restaurant Musang

Georgetown Bakery Deep Sea Sugar and Salt

Capitol Hill dessert shop Hot Cakes

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Hot Cakes has always dedicated its philanthropy, advocacy and activism to the environment. However, this is the last day that our environmentalism exists on it’s own. There is a chilling, deep, painful and loud call that we are awake to, and are listening to. As of this moment, we are changing our efforts to Intersectional Environmentalism. Meaning we will both advocate for social justice and environmental justice together. We will not be silent to the injustice that is happening to the black and brown people of this country. We will not be silent to the terrifying, unjust death of George Floyd and those before. We have a responsibility. We stand with our BIPOC community, and will work hard to be active allies.⠀ .⠀ To our black community, we hear you when you say that unless white people are actively anti-racist, we are racist. There is no part of this company that wants to participate in racism, so our journey to doing and being better starts now. Our pledge is to not be silent. Our pledge is to stand with our BIPOC community as active allies and work on learning how to unlearn. Some of the ways we will start immediately:⠀ ⠀ 1. Hot Cakes will bring the subject of racial equality and inclusivity into our weekly meetings as a standing agenda item⠀ 2. Hot Cakes will hire an inclusivity coach to help strengthen our company culture and to build a stronger active anti-racist way of existing⠀ 3. Hot Cakes will create policy around hiring practices that focus on equity, diversity and inclusion⠀ 4. Hot Cakes reopens this Friday after being shut down for months and we will donate 10% of our sales to @blklivesmatter and @naacp ⠀ •⠀ Image via @greengirlleah ❤️

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Monica Dimas (Little Neon Taco, Westman’s Bagels)

Ballard’s Rupee Bar