everything is NOT ok…

How do you wake up from a nightmare
when you’re not asleep?


“Lives that Matter Are Made with Positive Purpose.”
(OK Cafe sign during Atlanta’s unrest)

(The OK Cafe, an Atlanta instituion)

On Saturday, I received an interesting email.
At first, I wasn’t certain what it was about.
I wasn’t certain what Liberty House Restaurant Corp. was until I read a bit into the email.
I realized that it’s actually the name of the group that owns two of Atlanta’s
iconic restaurants.

The OK Cafe and Blue Ridge Grill.

(Blue Ridge Grill interior)

Both of these restaurants are two that my family has enjoyed visiting during the past
30 years or so…
despite the fact that they’ve been going strong for a good 41 years.

I can remember when our son was little, driving over to Atlanta on Sunday mornings
just to take him to the OK Cafe for breakfast—some of the best pancakes.

The Mayor and Sheriff now enjoy that same simple pleasure.

We’ve also celebrated many memorable events at the Blue Ridge Grill.
With the last being last year’s Father’s Day lunch.

And so when I read the following email, I was incensed.

We all know that many restaurants across this country have suffered grievously during
this pandemic.
Some have been unable to rally back following the shutdowns.

People have suffered the loss of work, the loss of income, the loss of camaraderie
and for many, the loss of a lifetime of work, hopes, and dreams.

And so just when folks were trying to kickstart their businesses and livelihoods,
here come the rioters, looters, vandals, antagonists, anarchists and racial extremists
who have decided our lives need to all go in another sort of direction.

A direction of violence, fear, and intimidation rather than emergence, renewed health
and hope.

These two restaurants did not ask to be in the crosshairs of the current
wave of civil unrest.
When the protesters commandeered the main street and parking lot to these restaurants,
both restaurants offered the protestors free tea and lemonade…
that’s the Southern way of hospitality.

They did have a couple of banners up hoping to showcase their support to
“all” people as well as keeping the peace during a peace-filled protest…
they also expressed their simple love of America,.

And it was that very notion of hospitality and peace that went terribly
wrong for this group of would-be do-gooders.

So now Homeland Security is monitoring their restaurants.
They have received death threats and a barrage of hate-filled
social media threats and attacks.

All because of a sense of hospitality, a hope for peace and the notion that
all lives do matter and in turn, can be a cause for the positive…

May those of us who believe in the same sense of kindness, caring, hospitality
and hope support those businesses who are simply trying to make
a living by serving us and making us happy.

Maynard Jackson (1938-2003) was the first black mayor of Atlanta.
He was the same Mayor who worked to bring the Summer Olympics to Atlanta in 1996.

He famously proclaimed that “Atlanta is the city too busy to hate”
I always believed that…until now.

Dear Liberty House Restaurant Friends,

It seems that we have found our company in an unusual – and perhaps dangerous – situation.
Richard & I have been under police protection and OK Café is being monitored by Homeland Security.

Wow! How did it get to this?

For those who know us, you’ll know that we are not here just to make money.
For 41 years we’ve served up Southern hospitality and helped showcase and identify our Southern culture.
Our aim was – and is – to make Atlanta a world-class city.
Liberty House is part of the fabric of Atlanta.

Since we’ve never been attacked before, I’d like to make our position clear:

On June 7th, a few days after the destructive riots in our city center and
throughout Buckhead, some people felt it right to organize a march down
West Paces Ferry Road to “bring the people of Buckhead out from behind their screens”
(the Marcher’s cry).

By June 7th, OK Café and Blue Ridge Grill had only reopened 4 days before and
like all others in the shopping center,
we weighed the dangers of looting or harm to our staff and customers, so we closed again.
The marchers took over our parking lot anyways, so no customers could have parked.
The marchers were mostly peaceful – that day.

For our part, we put up two signs at OK Café and served tea.
As is our 1st amendment right to do.
The banner read:
“Lives that Matter Are Made with Positive Purpose.”

Blue Ridge Grill had a tent and served lemonade.
Their sign read:
“Law & Order = Peace”

And Marvin Gaye’s lyrics;
“Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
What’s going on.”

And lastly a red, white, and blue sign draped the front of OK Café on Northside Parkway.
Loud and proud it read:
“OK Café LOVES America.”

Since then we have received hundreds of negative reviews online.
We have been told, kneel or go out of business.

If loving America is wrong – I don’t wanna be right.
And our great and mighty team stands with us on this point.

Susan DeRose
Liberty House Restaurant Corp.

Strive for peace with everyone,
and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14

(I’ll be on a bit of a hiatus for the remainder of the week)

34 comments on “everything is NOT ok…

  1. I think I’m glad I’m so old when I read things like that Julie. We had protests, but they were very peaceful here although our Court house statue will probably be torn down, but how could anyone take exception to the hospitality shown by the Cafe owners? They could have hidden inside with guns to protect their property but instead offered refreshments and put up signs to welcome everyone. This country is sick and it isn’t COVID-19 that is making it so. Maybe I’m just too old to understand these things. Or maybe it’s because I live in the northern part of the south and we don’t have that much exposure to big city problems so we don’t see that degree of hatred. But I’ve always thought that since all mankind is made in the image of God that we should just stop looking at the outside of a person and find the good inside them. I just don’t know how to hate. Maybe I should try to learn now so I will fit in to the new world we will find when this pandemic is finally over. But the pandemic of hates is going to be our next pandemic.

  2. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
    Chaos, confusion and uncertainty are things among us, taking root and spreading it’s vile thinking. “Once more into the breach dear friends”

  3. Ed says:

    And just to think that this isn’t the end of it.. just a few days later there was yet another incident… though nowhere near Georgia.
    A point I realized after all of this vandalism and protests started is that people are hurting already… lost wages, unemployment… and it’s not getting any better. Add vandalism and rioting to the mix… and people are still hurting.. many lose not only their rights…. but their jobs, livelihoods and their transportations

  4. atimetoshare.me says:

    Yesterday morning at 12:35 AM there was a shootout in Minneapolis. One dead and eleven injured. No longer is my state “Minnesota Nice,” it’s now gunfights in the streets. How do stop a world run amok? I think God is the only one who can bring order out of chaos. We have to continue to believe that.

  5. Salvageable says:

    I wish there were words to say that could ease your pain at this affront. We know that God is in control and that all things work together for good for those who love him. It is hard to see the truth in that promise during these difficult times. Someday we will look back on 2020 and see what the Lord accomplished through all this violence, hatred, and confusion. J.

  6. K.L. Hale says:

    What a shame. I feel for these owners and all of the “innocent” businesses and people who have been ‘hijacked’ through their attempts to at least be civil. I pray you have a week of peace.

  7. Tricia says:

    What an infuriating chain of events Julie, I share your frustration and anger here. Those poor business owners, they did nothing wrong. But then again it’s not really about correcting any particular action, just tearing down the “system” which anarchy helps move along.

    Hope your extended hiatus isn’t too extended. But I do hope you gain some peace and sanity during it.

  8. It’s just maddening, Julie! My heart just cries out for somebody to say “no” and for the grown ups to show up. What makes me so crazy is that the “bad things” being done are not being called. “bad things.” Like, rioting, breaking stuff, hurting people, is wrong, always. Crazy we have people in leadership that seem to not know that.

    On our own home front, Mayor Jenny of Seattle is preparing to cancel Chaz, what she has previously called a “block party” or the “Summer of Love.” Violence has skyrocketed, there have been a few shootings, and someone has now died. Lot of drugs, lot of weapons, total recipe for disaster.

    • I don’t know how this is all going to play out— but not good is what I do know—
      I know God sees and knows and that He is still in control but I sure am weary of all this madness!!!!

  9. oneta hayes says:

    Have a good time with the sane politicians you are hanging with – and give them bear hugs aplenty.

  10. Citizen Tom says:

    Julie has a sad article about the George Floyd riots in Atlanta. As she observes, the rioters don’t make any sense.

    I live near our nation’s capital. They don’t make any sense here either. The big news about the George Floyd riots in Washington D.C. is that our president has called upon the Guard to defend the monuments on Federal Government property. Here is an article.

    The nihilistic mob targeting the monuments especially have it in for a statue of President Abraham Lincoln with a slave kneeling before him. They miss the fact that the shackles on the slave are broken, and the former slave is standing up. They also don’t seem to appreciate the fact that freed slaves paid for the statue.

    My hope is that the rest of us will look in horror upon the insanity of such mobs and the fact that the news media is egging these people on. I hope we will come to our senses, whatever that means. Human kind never has been known for exercising much sense, but this is just destructive foolishness.

    God help us!

  11. so much happening in so little time…..it’s a maze that begun and no one knows where it’s going to end…but I would like to believe that God is still in control because He is on the throne….and if we can shift our focus upwards we can then someday look back and laugh at ourself saying “oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt”.

  12. SLIMJIM says:

    This is sad and maddening; I’m so mad to hear this!

  13. Dawn Marie says:

    Tearfully speechless reading this. I do not understand this level of hatred…

    “Lead us not into despair, Lord.” Amen.

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