How #TacoTrucksAtEveryMosque Is Bringing Communities Together One Meal At A Time

The program is about much more than tacos.

The premise of #TacoTrucksAtEveryMosque is simple: a taco truck parks at a mosque and offers free tacos after religious services. But the movement started in southern California is working to make a much bigger impact. With every meal, organizers hope the shared experience and conversation will help foster unity between the Muslim and Latino communities in a symbol of the rejection of xenophobia.

The program's idea came in the fall of 2016 when a supporter of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump warned of the impending dominance of Latino culture that would lead to "a taco truck at every corner." The movement's founders, Rida Hamida and Ben Vazquez, told NPR that they were both politically active before #TacoTrucksAtEveryMosque, but something about that comment and recent efforts in Vazquez's hometown to ban taco trucks, or loncheras, urged the two to think bigger. 

The first #TacoTrucksAtEveryMosque event was hosted last June in partnership with Resilience OC at the Islamic Center of Santa Ana during Ramadan. As Muslims fast during daylight hours of the holy month, Hamida and Vazquez were there with free halal tacos after evening religious services. More than 400 people attended, 

"We wanted to embrace the Latino community, as well as their culture, in this month to really fight that injustice in the most delicious way possible — one halal taco at a time," Hamida told WBUR. 

In addition to sharing a meal, organizers urge attendees to share their stories with each other. The hope is also that these events will also inspire individuals to become more politically active.

"There are layers of sharing beyond just food," Vazquez said. "It's our job as activists to nurture understanding and build relationships. And we are developing deeper relationships as we build this."

Since June, Hamida estimates that #TacoTrucksAtEveryMosque has served 7,300 people and nearly 29,000 tacos. They've hosted seven events so far, with the next planned for May.

"Dismissed people are longing for a space in these divisive times," Hamida said. "And they're doing it in a delicious way."

A Plus has reached out to #TacoTrucksAtEveryMosque for comment.

Cover image via  Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.

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