4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

"Hate Has No Business Here" in Mission Hills

Coffee man and councilman go door-to-door with message

John Bertsch displays a flyer along with handmade signs at the Mission Hills Meshuggah Shack
John Bertsch displays a flyer along with handmade signs at the Mission Hills Meshuggah Shack

"There's been a lot of divisive rhetoric over the last year or so that's made people fearful, and to feel unwelcome," said John Bertsch, owner of the Meshuggah Shack coffee outlet in Mission Hills, before embarking with newly seated city councilmember Chris Ward throughout the neighborhood on a flyer-distribution campaign.

The flyers, which proclaim "Hate Has No Business Here," along with "All Are Welcome" in many different languages, are the brainchild of the Main Street Alliance, which recently formed a San Diego chapter.

Sponsored
Sponsored

"These posters were originally published after the Orlando nightclub shooting," Bertsch continued. "The message is one of inclusion for people who feel like they're outsiders or who are marginalized. We want them here in our communities, and we welcome their business."

Bertsch and Alliance project director Karim Bouris say the recent presidential campaign, which featured rhetoric from president-elect Donald Trump calling at various points for mass deportations, erection of a wall along the southern border, and a ban on Muslims entering the country, has caused a sense of alienation among many local residents.

A recent FBI report shows that religion-based hate crimes in particular are on the rise, up 40 percent in San Diego, according to the most up-to-date records comparing 2014 and 2015. While the figure is still low at 14 reported incidents throughout the county, Bertsch and other business owners in City Heights and along Adams Avenue who participated in distributing flyers say now is the time to foster a sense of inclusiveness.

"The day after the election, I put up these banners and used the hashtag #allrwelcome, which I thought was unique to me," Bertsch said, pointing to large, hand-painted signs hanging from the roof of his coffee shop (similar banners hang from an East Village location). "A day later I got an email from Karim [Bouris, project director for the Main Street Alliance] who said, 'Hey, we're using a similar hashtag.' When I read about the Alliance...I found it was a group that I felt an affinity for.

"I came out as a gay man in 1982 when I was 18 years old, and I'm used to feeling marginalized, like I'm on the outside looking in. So I'm sensitive to other people who feel the same way, and even though I don't have darker skin, I don't look like a refugee, I know what it feels like. So I'm very much interested in reaching these people and communicating the message, 'I want you here.'"

During the canvassing, Bertsch and Ward were met with largely positive reactions, as other business owners and managers along Goldfinch Street agreed to hang the signs. Many stopped to pose for photos with the pair as they walked the neighborhood.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Gonzo Report: Visiting the Acid Vault at Amplified Ale Works

A kind of Enchanted Forest meets Kid Charlemagne feel
Next Article

Mayor Pete Wilson's team of aides

Paul Krueger's favorite stories he wrote for the Reader
John Bertsch displays a flyer along with handmade signs at the Mission Hills Meshuggah Shack
John Bertsch displays a flyer along with handmade signs at the Mission Hills Meshuggah Shack

"There's been a lot of divisive rhetoric over the last year or so that's made people fearful, and to feel unwelcome," said John Bertsch, owner of the Meshuggah Shack coffee outlet in Mission Hills, before embarking with newly seated city councilmember Chris Ward throughout the neighborhood on a flyer-distribution campaign.

The flyers, which proclaim "Hate Has No Business Here," along with "All Are Welcome" in many different languages, are the brainchild of the Main Street Alliance, which recently formed a San Diego chapter.

Sponsored
Sponsored

"These posters were originally published after the Orlando nightclub shooting," Bertsch continued. "The message is one of inclusion for people who feel like they're outsiders or who are marginalized. We want them here in our communities, and we welcome their business."

Bertsch and Alliance project director Karim Bouris say the recent presidential campaign, which featured rhetoric from president-elect Donald Trump calling at various points for mass deportations, erection of a wall along the southern border, and a ban on Muslims entering the country, has caused a sense of alienation among many local residents.

A recent FBI report shows that religion-based hate crimes in particular are on the rise, up 40 percent in San Diego, according to the most up-to-date records comparing 2014 and 2015. While the figure is still low at 14 reported incidents throughout the county, Bertsch and other business owners in City Heights and along Adams Avenue who participated in distributing flyers say now is the time to foster a sense of inclusiveness.

"The day after the election, I put up these banners and used the hashtag #allrwelcome, which I thought was unique to me," Bertsch said, pointing to large, hand-painted signs hanging from the roof of his coffee shop (similar banners hang from an East Village location). "A day later I got an email from Karim [Bouris, project director for the Main Street Alliance] who said, 'Hey, we're using a similar hashtag.' When I read about the Alliance...I found it was a group that I felt an affinity for.

"I came out as a gay man in 1982 when I was 18 years old, and I'm used to feeling marginalized, like I'm on the outside looking in. So I'm sensitive to other people who feel the same way, and even though I don't have darker skin, I don't look like a refugee, I know what it feels like. So I'm very much interested in reaching these people and communicating the message, 'I want you here.'"

During the canvassing, Bertsch and Ward were met with largely positive reactions, as other business owners and managers along Goldfinch Street agreed to hang the signs. Many stopped to pose for photos with the pair as they walked the neighborhood.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Santee politician Randy Voepel protests against media’s attempts to link him to his grandchild’s alleged crimes

Placism!
Next Article

The wildest things on the Funky Fries & Burgers menu

Freak shakes are what might result if an ice cream truck crashed into a candy store
Comments
6

MOVE ON . ORG started this to discredit Trump, so glad the masses around the country did not swallow this PC crap. Only in Calif.

Dec. 16, 2016

Doesn't sound PC (politically correct) to me. Welcoming diversity just sounds morally and ethically right. It's another reason why I love California!

Dec. 16, 2016

How does condemning hate equal discrediting Trump? Unless...wait...are you admitting...I mean...are you saying that Trump is pro-hate?

Dec. 17, 2016

There's no courage in preaching to the choir. This gentleman is obviously a businessman who saw the election result as an opportunity to get some free press and pats on the back...like Trump.

Dec. 18, 2016

No he's just using them for his benefit. He knows most Mexicans, illegals and refugees can't afford to live in the gayborhood.

Dec. 18, 2016

It is all about expanding his customer base and getting free advertising. The City Councilman gets press and his coffee shop gets press which all equals more money. I have been in many stores which serve mixed communities and have never seen a store owner/manager turning away any customer. Retail will sell you anything and do whatever it takes to keep and expand their market share.

Dec. 19, 2016

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close