A grassroots movement, born in Georgia, is quietly gaining momentum. Equality Lives Here, TM (ELH) is reaching out to businesses and individuals nationwide – from restaurants to hotels to retailers to members of the community – offering them a simple Equality Lives Here decal to place in their window to say, “all are welcome here.” This movement has been met with a great deal of enthusiasm and interest from the business community. And with that, Equality Lives Here is taking off.
“This really is a very simple concept,” says ELH Founder Billy Kramer. “Everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, or sexual orientation, should feel welcome no matter where they are, where they’re going, or what they want to do. Equality Lives Here is one step in a long road, heading in the right direction.”
Kramer is a restaurant owner himself. He started with the popular @BillysBurgers pop-ups and NFA Burger, and then opened his first permanent location of NFA Burger in Dunwoody in December 2019.
Within the Equality Lives Here brand, there are several more specific categories geared towards restaurants, schools, etc.: Equality Learns Here, Equality Shops Here, Equality Drinks Here, Equality Plays Here, Equality Works Here, and Equality Eats Here (as proudly displayed on Kramer’s NFA Burgers website, as well as a decal placed on an NFA window).
One of the first local business owners to come on board with Equality Lives Here is Kevin Gillespie, Chef/Owner, Red Beard Restaurants. “Real hospitality can only exist where everyone, regardless of circumstances, is welcomed with open arms,” says Gillespie. “One of the founding principles of Red Beard Restaurants is that all guests are treated like VIPs, and now more than ever it’s incredibly important that we live that mantra. It begins internally, by creating a safe haven for our staff where they can thrive, and continues into our dining rooms by ensuring that all guests are celebrated. I want my restaurants to represent the future of Atlanta and its proactive approach to equality and prosperity.”
Discover Dunwoody, has a mission to advance the city’s economic vitality and quality of life, and supports the concept of ELH. “Discover Dunwoody proudly embraces the Equality Lives Here initiative because it directly reflects Dunwoody as a destination,” says Melanie Watson, Communications Manager, Discover Dunwoody. “We always tell visitors that anyone and everybody is welcome here. This type of initiative amplifies that message and physically shows them.”
“We are so pleased with the response that Equality Lives Here has received. I believe no matter where you shop, eat, or work, that your skin color, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs should take a back seat. Our goal is to eventually compile a comprehensive directory of businesses – starting with Georgia and growing from there – who all share the same underlying viewpoint: that all people are created equal,” explains Kramer.
Chef’s Todd Richards and Josh Lee of The Soulful Company, owners of Lake & Oak BBQ have recently joined ELH. “Equality Lives Here [at our restaurants] for the reason that are all welcome, without privilege being a determining factor; eating delicious food together is the best way to develop equality; listening while consuming,” says Richards.”
“The City of Dunwoody is comprised of a variety of businesses, retailers, restaurants and hotels that welcome all types of people through their doors every day, says Kimberly Franz, Marketing Director, Discover Dunwoody. “By joining this initiative, those businesses will directly showcase their support of the people that drive the local economy and support their establishments on a daily basis. Dunwoody is a diverse community and these welcoming messages will strengthen Dunwoody’s hospitality and will continue to offer a warm welcome to those that live, work, play and visit here.”
Founding ELH Members Include: NFA Burger, Lake and Oak BBQ, Where’s the Scoop, Revival Decatur, Cold Beer Atlanta, Gunshow Atlanta, Café Sababa, Tin Drum Asian Kitchen, Vino Venue, Buena Vida Tapas & Sol, Evergreen Butcher & Baker, Farm Burger, Big Sky Buckhead, The Mad Italian, and Discover Dunwoody Georgia.
“This is an especially timely resource that we are pleased to make available to our communities, given the economic and social issues of our current environment,” says Kramer. “During one of the most turbulent periods of our country’s history, it is incumbent of all of us to come together and support one another. Equality Lives Here allows us to do that in a cohesive and tolerant way.”
Visit equalityliveshere.com for details or contact email@example.com with questions.
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