Stop the Appropriation of BIPOC Culture in Ojai!

Stop the Appropriation of BIPOC Culture in Ojai!

Started
September 8, 2022
Signatures: 1,446Next Goal: 1,500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Chiany Dri

It’s no secret that Ojai has a serious problem with cultural appropriation. The latest business to raise concern is a non-BIPOC owned restaurant called “Tres Hermanas,” which will be opening soon. Despite valid concerns raised by many BIPOC community members, “Tres Hermanas” has not taken any meaningful action to remove culturally appropriative elements from their logo, name and concept, despite an outcry of community concern about cultural appropriation. Their responses to the community show a lack of understanding or care about what cultural appropriation truly is, and this is doing real harm to Indigenous and Latinx communities.  

Cultural appropriation occurs when a dominant group profits from the ideas and culture of historically marginalized communities that they aren’t a part of. By using the Iroquois/Haudenosaunee story of the 3 sisters (a practice recognized by many indigenous cultures across North America) in both logo and concept descriptions, and by using Spanish in the name, potentially misleading patrons who seek to support Latinx-owned businesses, our community believes that Tres Hermanas is engaging in cultural appropriation. 

One reason cultural appropriation is an issue is that it removes the opportunity for people of the specific culture/s being appropriated to continue to tell their stories authentically in their own voices and in their own way. Another reason is that all profit made from the ideas, traditions, stories and beliefs of these communities are not being reinvested into these communities, further invisibilizing these communities and contributing to the ongoing disenfranchisement and discriminatory practices experienced by these communities. (eg. policies that disallow street vendors from selling goods in the City of Ojai)

Indigenous and Latinx communities are not an aesthetic. They are historical, ancestral, and targeted. Using ‘New Mexico’ as a mask for appropriative actions, ignores important historical context, further marginalizing Indigenous and Latinx communities

Ojai can do better than this and deserves better than this for ourselves and each other. 

Join us in asking that:

  • The owner revise their logo and business name to remove elements that are of Indigenous and Latinx significance.

 

  • The owner remove Indigenous storytelling elements from their mission statement and to be reflective of New Mexico and not of the Latinx and Indigenous cultures that preceded it.

 

  • The owner hire or employ a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion consultant (or consultant with a similar and documented skill set) to help implement these critical and foundational changes in support of a meaningful and socially-conscious business ethos.

 

  • The owner commit a percentage of their business earnings to be donated to a local non-profit organization specifically serving Indigenous and/or Latinx communities.

 

  • The business release a statement of apology on their social media and online platforms acknowledging receipt of the petition, apologizing for any and all harm caused to the community, and outlining all changes and commitments being made by the business and its owner/s to address and repair any and all harm caused. 

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Since seeing this petition, the owner of Tres Hermanas Ojai said, "We are currently working with and in deep communication with our contacts and vendors in New Mexico. We are engaging with cultural anthropologists and with food culture specialists. We are researching the best and most appropriate non profit organization to make benefactors of our future restaurant. These are exactly and directly what the petition asked, and they are taken very seriously." 

This is, in fact, not what the petition asks, not directly and not indirectly. Working with vendors in New Mexico does not address the issues we are addressing in this petition. We outline 5 requests, of which her above claim may include minor elements of, but, in our opinion, does not even begin to scratch the surface of what we are asking she consider and act on in this petition and lacks evidence to support her claims. And as a reminder, this petition is a reflection our opinions on the matter, based on the facts that were presented publicly by the owner of Tres Hermanas on her instagram page and solely reflects what we believe cultural appropriation is and how it is being exemplified in this matter based on our knowledge and resources.

This petition was co-written by three Latinx current and former long-term community members. Together we aim to advocate and support those in our communities who are seen and heard the least by using our voices, privilege, and positions to speak up and ask for meaningful community-centered change.

 

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Signatures: 1,446Next Goal: 1,500
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