The anti-gentrification group Defend Boyle Heights, led a protest last Thursday at the kosher Asher Caffe & Lounge on its grand opening date.
The East LA cafe is owned by Asher Shalom, who the group claims is a Trump supporter with anti-immigrant views.
Defend Boyle Heights describes themselves as an "anti-gentrification coalition devoted to community and our hood." They called for the boycott after seeing Shalom's social media posts, which they shared screenshots of in their flyer for the protest.
The Boyle Heights Chamber of Commerce also removed Shalom, who is an immigrant, from its membership just before the protest last week based on his anti-immigrant social media posts.
Shalom released the following statement to Eater Los Angeles:
“I immigrated to this country 30 years ago and I am blessed and grateful to have been a part of the Boyle Heights and Downtown LA community ever since. Boyle Heights is my second home and it’s where I’ve started two businesses, including Asher Caffè & Lounge. Through my businesses, we have proudly created hundreds of jobs for the community. My staff and team members come from diverse backgrounds, and some of them are immigrants themselves. I consider many of them great friends and family, and I am humbled to work alongside my talented and diverse staff. I am proud to be an immigrant and wholeheartedly support hiring fellow immigrants.
I believe that all people should be treated with humanity, dignity and respect - there is no hate tolerated at Asher Caffè & Lounge. It has always been my vision to create a communal space for Boyle Heights where family, friends and colleagues can come together over good food and to celebrate what makes our community so great.
As a deeply involved member of the Boyle Heights community, Downtown LA and the surrounding areas, I support the Hollenbeck Community Police Station and the LAFD in any way I can. Asher Caffè & Lounge has always been proud to extend a 40% off discount to our hardworking law enforcement, fire departments, CHP and armed forces (army, navy, air force, marines, coast guard). I humbly support and donate to various organizations within Boyle Heights, such as local churches and schools.
Please know that the doors to Asher Caffè & Lounge are open to all - everyone has and always will be welcomed.”
Shalom will be on at 2pm today to talk with John and Ken about the protest.