TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- As the country prepares to celebrate its independence, there are some that won’t acknowledge the holiday, including Yourhighness Tafari, the co-owner of Tampa restaurant Vegg’d Out Vegan Kitchen.
“This is something that publicly stands as a holiday of freedom, independence. But as black people we honestly never truly really felt free,” said Tafari.
Across the country, protests boycotting the Fourth of July will take place. Tafari along with other local vegan restaurants have organized the #BoycottThe4th protest for the Tampa Bay area.
“It represents a statement to the country and the entire world really, to show that we don’t feel free. We’ve seen what’s going on, we need help. If you’re willing to stand with us, like you’re publicly saying you are, come out support us. Make a statement to the world for your brothers and sisters to say, ‘hey, if they’re not free, I’m not free.’ That’s the whole essence of the campaign,” Tafari said.
Just last month, Tafari appeared before Tampa City Council to discuss the importance of creating an open forum about race relations in the Tampa Bay area. He now hopes his “Boycott the 4th” protest will be the catalyst for meaningful dialog.
“People have to be honest, we have to create a safe space for people to decide they can share their shame, their guilt and for us to really get into our pain and sorrow,” he said. “Let people start to learn and raise the awareness. That’s the only way they’re going to know what to do better than just reading books. Hear from the people that’s going through it. Let us be honest with you, you be honest with us on what you think about us how you get to these thoughts. Maybe we can start to discover some of the motivations behind your behaviors.”
The “Boycott the 4th” protest will be held on Saturday, July 4, at the intersection of S. Tampa Street and E. Brorein Street. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
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