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Movement Calls for the Untold Stories of Restaurant Employees

#RestaurantWorkersResist is an á la The Moth storytelling event

Handsome Pizza Gets A New Home; Shares Space With Seastar Bakery
Handsome Pizza
Dina Avila/EPDX

At a time when many in the community are looking for ways to respond to the tumultuous political climate, a group of Portland chefs, restaurant owners, teachers, and other community leaders have launched #RestaurantWorkersResist. Inspired by The Moth, the New York City-based live storytelling series, the public event will feature the often untold tales focused on the themes of race, identity, culture, and food from workers in the restaurant industry, before a live studio audience.

#RestaurantWorkersResist is currently calling for story submissions from local restaurant employees interested in sharing their narratives at the event. Participants will tell their stories unscripted, and coaches will be available to help the storytellers prepare. Some of the proceeds of the event will go to the storytellers, and the remainder will be donated to Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO).

Will Fain, the owner of NE Killingsworth’s Handsome Pizza, is one the people spearheading #RestaurantWorkersResist, and he tells Eater it was in-part inspired by Portland’s Racist Sandwich podcast and the successful Cookie Grab event earlier this year.

“I think storytelling is a mode of sharing that brings people together,” says Fain. “It’s a very effective way to generate sympathy and empathy between people, which I think is important to changing how we all relate. Storytelling is also an apolitical framework—as opposed to a rally—and hopefully, it will be able to draw a broader community of speakers and a more diverse audience, instead of only politically active people.”

Fain says he also wanted “to put some effort into responding to some of the current administration's policies” in a way other than “just griping about them with my friends.” Some of the many other individuals and groups behind #RestaurantWorkersResist are the Seastar Bakery and the local queer-femme production team Pink Hanky. The event’s date and time are still TBD. Read the #RestaurantWorkersResist’s full event description here.