“Claudia, I need to let you know that I just created the nolovenotacos.org,” Alfonso Medina, owner of Marshalltown’s La Carreta, said during a recent phone call.
About two months ago, I had the pleasure of writing about Alfonso and the hate letters he received after he decided to display a popular social justice sign at his restaurant.
“No Love, No Tacos: A Marshalltown Man’s Fight for Justice” was a very popular article and had the effect he was looking for — it generated dialogue.
Alfonso also decided to sell t-shirts with the No Love, No Tacos logo that were purchased throughout the nation, including in California, Florida, New York, Arizona, Hawaii, and even Mexico. More than 450 t-shirts have been sold, generating money for the Medina family’s scholarships to help students pay for school tuition.
He has since launched an organization centered around the viral message.
I have to confess that I was confused when Alfonso shared this news with me. A No Love, No Tacos organization?
“Election Day should be one of the most important days for our country — one day, every four years for our democracy,” Alfonso said. “And we believe businesses should close on Election Day in order to let their employees go out and vote.”
The pledge on the website reads: “Join us as we do our part to help our employees, friends and family with the opportunity to make the 2020 election a fair election.”
It comes with templates to use in your home, business or on social media to pledge to take Nov. 3 off to get out and vote. Besides having the pledge in English and Spanish, it also encourages people to volunteer at their local poll center.
Alfonso added: “Everyone agrees that an election in a democracy like the one we have should be fair and equal opportunity to go out and vote, so we want to ease the process.”
And for those businesses that might think they are losing money, they made templates for business owners to put on their front doors and on social media, asking for support while they are closed.
2020 has been a trying and crazy year, from COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter to the derecho in Iowa and the presidential campaign that never fails to surprise us with this administration. But we have also seen how we as society have come out with different ways to overcome the adversity. We have seen the best coming out of where we least expect it.
Right before the upcoming election, in the middle of the pandemic, when everything seems to be chaotic, I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. I see a new movement that was born as a result from people’s hatred, ignorance and division.
After learning about this new movement and reflecting on what moves Alfonso to do what he’s doing, all I can think is about the Mexican proverb that says, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
This movement was born because some people tried to quiet and intimidate Alfonso, but they didn’t know that those letters were going to awake the sleeping giant. I know that one day we are going to hear from Alfonso Medina again. I wouldn’t doubt if he ends up being the next mayor of Marshalltown.
By Claudia Thrane
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