Some Houston restaurants have decided to close today in support of protestors honoring the life of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis last Monday.
Floyd, who spent most of his life in Houston, will be honored with a march Downtown this afternoon led by rappers Trae tha Truth and Bun B. Floyd grew up in Houston’s Third Ward and was active in the city’s rap scene, collaborating with legendary artist DJ Screw. Many members of Floyd’s family still live in Houston. Floyd was killed last week after a Minneapolis police office knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. Demonstrations have taken place over several days in several cities in protest of police brutality following his death.
In an announcement on Instagram, The Toasted Coconut posted that it was closing today in order to honor black lives. “We’ve been told never to mix business with personal values. But fuck that,” the post read. “We have decided to close for today in observance of black lives to allow ourselves and our staff the opportunity to peacefully express solidarity.”
Downtown Houston restaurant Leaf & Grain will also close in support of the protests, along with Southside Espresso, which also plans to “take part in the protest and come up with ways we can directly contribute funds to organizations that support POC and help to fight against systemic racism and police brutality in our country.”
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For many of us in hospitality, we've been told never to mix business with personal values. But fuck that. We have decided to close for today in observance of black lives to allow ourselves and our staff the opportunity to peacefully express solidarity. Black Lives Matter. #blackouttuesday
Similarly, Postino Wine Cafe announced that it would close its Montrose and Heights locations in Houston today in honor of Floyd, along with 13 other restaurants across three states. “This is a letter that I should have written years ago - long before the lost lives of Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and countless Black lives that were stolen,” Upward Projects CEO Lauren Bailey wrote in a statement. “At Upward Projects, we have long defined ourselves as a company that seeks inclusion and equality. We live by the mantra ‘Everyone is Welcome’. We do not tolerate racism.”
Explaining the decision further, Bailey said that the closure would allow employees time to participate in demonstrations. Additionally, Upward Projects is donating to a number of non-profit organizations, including the NAACP, Black Lives Matter and the Equal Justice Initiative.
Many businesses have also participated in Black Out Tuesday, a movement on social media in which people post black boxes to their profiles as a message of solidarity with the black community. Bravery Chef Hall shared the image along with an announcement that the food hall would also close today. Other restaurants have elected to stay open, but are making donations in support of the movement instead. Rosie Cannonball’s owners posted to Instagram that they would be donating the proceeds of every pizza sold during the month of June to the NAACP.
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We’re listening. Black boxes are not helpful. Here (@htxlegaldefense) is where all money spent at Giant Leap today will be matched and donated. Our friends and communities are on the streets today. - Silence is violence- even on social media, even in our small corner of the internet world. Our black friends and neighbors have been aggressively and directly impacted by police brutality and varied forms of inequality and oppression for hundreds of years. - As a white owned business we have benefited from a system that favors us. We stand with the uprising and support our country’s ongoing effort to dismantle white supremacy. We believe in justice, reform and human rights. - Every dollar spent at Giant Leap this morning will be matched in a donation to aid in bail outs for those arrested at today’s protest in Houston.. - We will continue to listen, learn and seek out ways to be better neighbors and a better local business in a thriving neighborhood founded and grown by people of color. We will partner with and amplify black and marginalized voices. - Please support local black owned businesses. Take care of each other. This is only the beginning.
Other restaurants are donating funds locally and getting involved in the protests. Giant Leap Coffee will donate to bail funds for arrested protesters, and SeaSide Poke will hand out bottles of water to marchers at today’s events. Airport Daiquiri will also hand out water to protesters, along with free protest t-shirts.
Today’s march in honor of Floyd’s life will begin at 3 p.m. at Discovery Green and make its way towards City Hall. The City of Houston has announced that a number of municipal buildings will be closing early today due to the march.