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Local Chefs, Bakers, and Restaurateurs Align to Form ‘Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice’

The coalition will raise funds for groups that support and fight for racial justice across the South

Brightside Bakeshop and many other Nashville bakers and chefs will offer pastries and other goodies for sale this Sunday, benefitting the ACLU
Brightside Bakeshop/Facebook

There’s a growing coalition of chefs and restaurant owners from Nashville and throughout the South that is banding together to actively support black-led organizations who are working to dismantle systemic racism and oppression.

A number of Nashville restaurants, owners, bakers, and chefs posted a common logo and mission statement on their Instagram feeds this week, making people take notice of a newly formed coalition ‘Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice’. Mailea Weger (lou), Bryan Lee Weaver (Butcher & Bee, Redheaded Stranger), and various other restaurant social media accounts all reposted the logo and common statement, in a project reportedly led here in Nashville by award-winning pastry chef Lisa Marie Donovan. Donovan joins Cheryl Day of Savannah’s Back in the Day and Sarah O’Brien of Atlanta’s Little Tart Bakery in spearheading and growing the cause.

Members posted that the group’s mission statement is a constantly evolving work in progress but that at the heart they want to support, learn from, work for, and amplify black voices and community leaders.

We are a coalition of bakers, chefs, and restaurant owners joined together to get behind black-led organizations who are actively working to dismantle systemic racism and oppression in our society. And that by establishing a network that raises money monthly, we hope to support this work for many years to come. We are here to support, learn from, work for, and amplify the black voices and black leaders in our communities. We are committed to this work and aim to keep the momentum of this moment alive in our efforts for many years to come.

Details are still yet to be revealed, but the coalition’s first official event will take place on Father’s Day, June 21 in a growing list of cities (currently 16). The collaborative fundraising event of restaurants throughout the South to support black leadership and organizations is in honor of George Floyd and in the name of all black mothers and fathers facing daily racial injustices with their children. Participating chefs will donate anywhere from 10% to 100% of sales to their first chosen organization @colorofchange.

Color of Change shines a light on a number of issues that need attention — including advocating for sick leave and a livable wage for black restaurant workers in the fast food industry. They also call for holding prosecutors accountable, and helping people stay connected with loved ones behind bars during the COVID-19 crisis, among many other petitions and causes for racial justice.

They’re also promoting the community bake sale at Lou on Sunday, June 14 — benefitting the ACLU. A number of goodies from Donovan, Crystal De Luna-Bogan, and Sean Brock, plus Sarah Gavigan, Bryan Lee Weaver, Peninsula’s Jake Howell, and many others will all be available for $5. The ACLU racial justice program aims to preserve and extend constitutionally guaranteed rights to people who have historically been denied their rights on the basis of their race. Preorders are available (starting Friday) for curbside contactless pick up, or bake sale attendees can have a seat on the patio. There will be clear 6 feet indicators while waiting in line, and a host to screen and limit guests while shopping.