Opponents of City of Pensacola’s anti-panhandling ordinance launched a Facebook event page for a six-week boycott of a 11 downtown Pensacola businesses, two others located on Cervantes and the Downtown YMCA.
According to organizers, the businesses are those that have vocally supported the anti-panhandling ordinance that created the “Downtown Visitors District” and prohibits asking for money or donations and unlicensed street performers in that area, which is primarily South Palafox Street.
The second reading and final passage of the ordinance is scheduled for the council’s May regular meeting.
As of this morning over 200 people have signed up to participate in the boycott on the Facebook page. They have pledged to not shop or use the boycotted businesses until the end of May.
The boycott list includes:
• Beef O’ Brady’s
• New World Landing
• The Vinyl Music Hall
• Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen
• Downtown YMCA
• The Tin Cow
• The Bodacious Olive and Bodacious Brew
• Pot Roast and Pinot
• O’Riley’s Irish Pub
• The Azalea
Why these places? According to the Facebook page:”These businesses have prioritized marginal (and hypothetical) financial gains over the dignity and well-being of the needy. The hypocrisy and prejudice with which they spend resources to cultivate an *image* of success and community, yet hide the material, everyday reality of poverty through intimidation legislation can no longer be tolerated.”
Organizers say that they are currently in talks with anonymous business owners and philanthropists who are considering matching the number of boycott participants with donations to Food Not Bombs and Sean’s Outpost.
They have published a memo detailing how the businesses can removed from the boycott:
****MEMO TO BUSINESSES WHO WOULD LIKE TO BE TAKEN OFF THE BOYCOTT LIST****
Part of the point of the boycott is to get you off the boycott list! This can be done by releasing a public statement to the Pensacola press with evidence of your business’s material support for the homeless population AND a denunciation of the anti-panhandling ordinance.
Here are some other ideas, if you’ve truly had a change of heart:
– Have weekly specials that fund donations for housing projects and soup kitchens
– Have free soup-of-the-day bowls (or any dish!) available to the poor or folks who will distribute them
– Open your restrooms to the public and provide free water to the public
– Lobby for a percentage of DIB taxes and dues to be earmarked for direct services for the homeless population
– Lobby for public restrooms downtown
– Have information on local shelters and soup kitchens available
– Educate your employees on how to interact compassionately with homeless individuals near your business
For people who work in the boycotted businesses, the organizers are encouraging them to find a new job and join the strike.
“We are discussing ways to create a support system for service workers with the courage to withhold their labor from unethical business owners. Of course, we sympathize with those who do not have the privilege to risk their paychecks.”