Culture

Houston’s Taco Trucks Are Getting Politically Active

From now until October 11th, Houston-area taco trucks will help citizens register to vote.

CREDIT: CANDACETX / TWITTER

The politically active taco trucks are the result of design firm Rigsby Hull and Mi Familia Vota, an organization working to raise political involvement in the Latino community, teaming up. Taco trucks became an unlikely but welcome symbol of anti-immigration rhetoric several weeks ago, when Marco Gutierrez attempted to shame taco trucks on MSNBC several weeks back. During his brief interview, “Latinos For Trump” founder Gutierrez claimed that rampant immigration would lead to “taco trucks [on] every corner.” His sentiments were thoroughly ridiculed on social media, as people from all backgrounds came out in defense of the beloved taco trucks.

I’ll have my tacos with a side of democracy.

CREDIT: ALLINWITHCHRIS / INSTAGRAM

The taco trucks are not official voter registrars, Texas Monthly points out, so the campaign’s efforts are restricted to “handing out the forms and pointing people in the direction of the nearest mailbox.” This might sound like a small gesture, but any gesture is better than what has been the norm to this point. Texas has one of the highest populations of Latinos in the U.S., but only a small percentage of eligible Latino voters ever actually vote. This kind of outreach should help bring awareness and purpose to people that have traditionally felt disenfranchised from the whole process.

This is just another reason to love taco trucks.

CREDIT: IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER / MGM

Let’s be honest, having the added incentive to become a registered voter is as delicious as it is dangerous. No one ever needs an excuse to grab something from a taco truck. There have been times when I’ve just gotten done eating a full meal and I smell a nearby truck, next thing I know I’m housing several tacos. So what. If you give me the chance to register to vote at the truck, I’m totally going to use that to my advantage. Not only is it my duty as a responsible member of society to spread awareness, it’s also a great excuse to eat at a taco truck whenever I want. Yes, I’ve eaten 10 tacos already today, but that’s ’cause I’m a patriot!

If you’re in the Houston area, you can get the most current list of participating trucks here.

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A Texas Man’s Taco Truck Was Saved By A Tweet And This Is The Story We Need Right Now

Things That Matter

A Texas Man’s Taco Truck Was Saved By A Tweet And This Is The Story We Need Right Now

TaqueriaElToritoOficial / Instagram

In a story that’s becoming all too familiar amid the global Coronavirus pandemic, one man’s taco truck was on the brink of going out of business.

Many small business owners throughout the country continue to struggle through the pandemic. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, more than 100,000 small businesses have not survived – and that number is on the rise.

However, one woman came up with an idea to help her father’s Houston-based taco truck and thankfully for them – and us (we all could use some good news right now!) the idea has seemed to work. Proving that the phrase “Hey Twitter!!” might just save the economy — one taco truck at a time.

It all started with a Tweet that ended up saving one man’s business.

One daughter, who was trying to help us her father’s struggling taco truck, turned to Twitter for help. And it delivered better-than-hoped-for results for Elias Aviles after his daughter, 21-year-old Giselle Aviles, posted a simple plea after learning that her hardworking father had made just $6 in a day, his business slammed by the pandemic.

“Hey Twitter!!” she tweeted of her dad’s Houston-area business, Taqueria El Torito. “I wouldn’t normally do this, but my dad’s taco truck business is struggling. He only sold $6 today. If you could retweet, I would appreciate you so much!!”

Thanks to Twitter, they could — and so could thousands of others. In fact so many people streamed in — he found people waiting when he arrived to open up at 8 a.m. the next day, on a line that had started forming at 6 a.m. — that he had to close down twice, once to restock and again when he simply ran out of product, CNN reported.

Gisele knew she had to do something to help out her father – who had put six years of his life into the taco truck.

Thanks to the Coronavirus, things have been tough for Elias Aviles and his truck, Taqueria El Torito. Some days earnings have been as low as $60, sometimes even just $20.

But one day he earned just $6 for a full 12-hour shift, and his daughter was shocked into action. She told CNN, “I just said well we have nothing to lose and I decided to make the tweet that day.”

Her plea to the world worked. Her Tweet has since been retweeted more than 10,000 times and has 9,800 likes.

But neither of them were prepared for just how much of an effect the Tweet would have.

Credit: TaqueriaElToritoOficial / Instagram

Although Gisele admits she did warn her father to get ready for some new customers, nothing could of prepared her for the magnitude of support from the community.

By 8 a.m. the next day, Elias had a line of customers waiting for his fresh tortas Cubanas—and some had been waiting there since six in the morning. It was such a busy period that Elias even had to close the truck for a short while in order to restock. Luckily, Giselle was able to help out with orders that day.

During her Monday shift, Giselle estimated that more than a hundred customers came through for Mexican specialties.

“I’m so moved because finally people know that his food is good,” Giselle told KHOU. “There were so many people, and [my dad] was kind of shocked because he didn’t think there would be a turn around that quickly.”

Since then, Giselle has helped her dad set up an Instagram account for his business.

Gisele has since helped modernize her father’s business by helping him setup an Instagram account.

She told KHOU, “I’m so moved because finally people know that his food is good. There were so many people, and [my dad] was kind of shocked because he didn’t think there would be a turn around that quickly.”

The string under her original tweet lists a photo array of offerings so mouthwatering that people from around the U.S. are offering to contribute. One commenter even offered to buy out his entire truck to feed a hospital staff.

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A Taco Truck Apologized For Serving ICE Employees At A Detention Center But Then Walked Back Their Apology

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A Taco Truck Apologized For Serving ICE Employees At A Detention Center But Then Walked Back Their Apology

@whereslloyd / Twitter

A popular taco truck in Buffalo, New York issued an apology to apologize for their previous apology about serving ICE workers. Lloyd Taco came under fire when they served Chorizo Mackin’ Cheese and Aztec Brownies to workers from a federal immigration detention center in Batavia. 

After outrage on social media, the truck owners apologized for serving the ICE employees. Then conservatives began a new outrage cycle accusing the regional chain of not being patriotic and disrespecting law enforcement. Lloyd Taco held a press conference to issue a second apology. 

Lloyd Taco apologizes for serving workers at a Batavia ICE detention center.

Co-owners Pete Cimino and Chris Dorsaneo posted an apology on social media, saying it was a “poor choice” to serve ICE workers and that they would donate proceeds to Justice for Migrant Families WNY. 

“Lloyd has deep ties to the immigrant and refugee communities in Buffalo,” the owners said in a statement. “There is no excuse for what happened and we have already begun to update our internal procedures to ensure future truck stops and events align with company’s values… we are donating all of the sales from yesterdays service to Justice for Migrant Families WNY.”  

However, after their apology went viral the company began to receive harsh criticism from people who support putting human beings in inhumane conditions to score political points. 

Immigrant advocates say the Batavia ICE detention center reportedly has poor conditions.

Complete statement:Feed Immigrant Justice not Immigrant Detention: Justice for Migrant Families WNY Responds to…

Posted by Justice For Migrant Families on Thursday, October 24, 2019

The detention center in Batavia, NY where Cimino and Dorsaneo served food is known for its horrible conditions. Justice Migrant Families WNY issued a statement about the facility. 

“People who are detained in Batavia regularly report that they receive insufficient food portions that have to be supplemented by buying food from the facility,'” Carra Statton, co-founder of Justice for Migrant Families WNY, said in a statement.

According to another comment on Facebook, Justice Migrant Families has no idea if they can expect a donation now. 

“At this point, we’re not even sure whether or not we will be receiving that donation. We haven’t heard from them since they issued their initial statement. As you know, they have now apologized for their apology,” the organization wrote

Conservatives criticize Lloyd Taco for supporting immigrants.

“Feeding working Americans who are just doing their job – Americans who specifically and with good intentions requested your product and services due to their admiration of said product and services.  And you choose to dis and turn your back on them? I’m done with Lloyds,” one person wrote in response to the apology. 

Many conservatives were quick to basically call for a boycott of the taco truck business.

“I’m sorry too that I can no longer support a business that disrespects federal employees doing their job. It’s been fun, but  I respect and support law enforcement and won’t be associated with any business who disrespects them,” another user wrote. “I respect and support law enforcement and won’t be associated with any business who disrespects them.”

ICE issues statement regarding Lloyd Taco’s apology. 

“We are doing our jobs, enforcing the laws passed by Congress.  Just like we have for many Presidents.  We will not apologize for doing this, not even to a food truck that now chooses to discriminate against us,” ICE field office director Thomas Feeley said in a statement

“The men and women who work at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility are Detention Officers, Deportation Officers, administrative support staff, Doctors, Nurses, Judges, Attorneys, and maintenance staff.  Each and every one of them is entrusted with the safety, security, and care of the detainees here.  Almost 50% of the staff are Veterans.”

Lloyd Taco apologizes for apologizing following second backlash. 

The owners held a news conference to apologize for their apology yesterday. Cimino insisted that the company was not political. 

“We make tacos, not war,” Cimino said repeatedly during the conference. “We serve all communities. We go to all neighborhoods. We are not political. Why would we be? How can any business choose sides in our politically divided country and ever hope to succeed?”

When Cimino was asked if the company would serve the facility again he said, “I don’t want to answer hypotheticals.” 

The co-owners also maintained that they were big fans of law enforcement and military personnel. Since the company’s founding in 2010, Lloyd Taco has given a 50 percent discount to all uniformed first responders and military personnel. 

“We’re big fans of the police – we’ve always been,” Cimino said.

The company said it would not choose a side in the immigration policy debate. The executive director Jennifer Connor said the group stands by its original statement — despite holding a press conference to apologize for it. 

“Our position has not changed. We are here to prioritize the needs of immigrant families in our community and in detention,” Connor said in a statement. “Though the events of the past week have drawn fire from all sides, we stand by the fact that the state of immigrant detention itself is an outrage.”

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