In an apparent response to the Black Lives Matter protests, OK Café – owned by Liberty House Restaurant Corporation – put up a sign outside that read: “Lives that matter are made with positive purpose.”
The protests, which have been largely peaceful, have also had a number of property damage and looting incidences. The café put up the sign on June 7, and set up a table and tent outside with a sign that read: “OK Cafe Tea Party.” The sign was put up after a student-led march, Buckhead4BlackLives, started near the restaurant.
The sign has since been removed, and was replaced by a sign advertising the restaurant’s take away services.
The café’s representatives have not commented on the matter.
In 2016, the café was slammed for racial insensitivity by politicians and activists after they displayed the old Georgia State flag, which had a Confederate battle emblem. The restaurant later moved the flag to a less prominent position, and replaced it with a Betsy Ross American flag carving.
An email exchange between Susan DeRose, co-owner of Liberty House, and a former employee were published by What Now Atlanta. In the email, DeRose defended the “lives that matter” sign, stating that it had no racist intentions.
She asked who would pay for the damages incurred by businesses after the protests. She also called for the end of the violence, destruction, and looting.
She told What Now Atlanta: “Many people are hearing about attacks on our company today and are disturbed and want to know if they need to protect us.”
“I am saying NO. Calmer and more logical heads always prevail. The press should not be allowed to tell lies about good people with good intentions,” she added.