No, no one vandalized The Love Cafe, Oakhurst and Madera County’s only vegan restaurant, with green tape yesterday.
The tape and its placement holds purpose.
The gesture demonstrates solidarity with those participating in and supporting the March of Silence, an organized protest “for the animals being silenced by humans and exploitative industries,” according to the organization’s Facebook page.
The two characters painted on the murals that adorn the exterior of the restaurant, “Jane the Love Ranger” and “Bodie the Bear,” have had their mouths sealed with green tape.
“The green tape is a form of showing that the animals don’t have a voice,” said The Love Cafe owner Tricia Louise Tracy. “We can go back to any kind of injustice in our world and it’s usually when someone doesn’t have a voice. Animals, just because they’re animals it’s really sad — they don’t have a voice.”
The staff and even a few customers have also taken photos of themselves with green tape over their mouths. The march is scheduled to take place on Sept. 12 in downtown Los Angeles.
Protestors will begin their 24-hour vow of silence at midnight on Sept. 12 and it culminates with a gathering in Los Angeles’ Grand Park at 5 p.m. for the actual march. Signs, banners and chants are not allowed.
Tracy is unsure whether she will be able to attend, but hopes her restaurant’s involvement begins a dialogue in the community between vegans and non-vegans about their respective diets.
“There’s those that you tell them what the green tape is and they sincerely are like, ‘O my gosh, tell me more. What is March of Silence?’” the owner said.
Tracy got the conversation started online Wednesday morning by posting multiple photos of Jane, Bodie, customers and employees donning the green tape on Facebook.
“It’s time to speak up, to educate, to revert to empathy & kindness. For the Planet. For the Animals. For Ourselves. Mostly for the Animals!!!!!” read Tracy’s post.
But, as with most dialogue online, not all of it was friendly.
Down in the comments, some posted GIFs of bacon grilling and a rotisserie chicken spinning, others accused the restaurant of wanting to outlaw meat products and one decided to poke fun at PETA by commenting “PETA= People for Eating Tasty Animals!!”
Others defended the restaurant and its support of the march.
“Why do all these haters hate the idea of being compassionate to animals?? Do they feel threatened, do the feel guilty??” commented Christina Ralston.
This is nothing new for Tracy and she has learned to welcome such reactions.
“I like anything that evokes emotion. If it evokes emotion, it’s great. It’s better than a bunch of zombies walking around,” Tracy said.
Vegan zombies was never Tracy’s goal. She understands that when people choose to eat meat, it’s no different from her choice to completely drop it from her own diet. The hope is to use movements like this to inform people of the treatment of the animals they eat.
“If you don’t want to stop eating meat, then don’t stop eating meat. But I think if you’re educated all about it, then when you still choose to do whatever it is you do, at least you know all about it and you’re OK with your choices,” she said.
Bryce Tyson, vegan and The Love Cafe regular, shared how important awareness was for him as someone who transitioned from vegetarian to a vegan diet only four years ago.
It wasn’t until he watched a video of a male calf being taken from his mother online that he had his “epiphany.” His mother, who grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania, had a similar realization when Tyson opened up to her about his decision to go vegan.
“Since that time, I’ve been connecting with people all over the nation that are into animal rights, veganism and social justice,” Tyson said.
Tyson said he will attend the March of Silence — his first — and was one of the customers photographed with green tape over his mouth.
The march has attracted some notable supporters, including Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and famed tattoo artist Kat Von D.
And while Tracy’s platform may not be as large as some of its other supporters, she’s just happy to have a platform at all.
“I’ve always supported it silently and promoted it, but now that I have this cafe as my platform, it’s been nice to be able to share this with people and talk about it openly,” she said. The cafe opened earlier this year in February.
Tracy said she makes a concerted effort to never preach her beliefs to non-vegans that come into her restaurant, but uses causes like this facilitate a conversation and inform anyone that may be interested.