For some, the impending inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump will serve as a grand celebration—while many others see it as a clear sign that the total collapse of civilised society at the hands of an unhinged megalomaniac is nigh. But for the DC service industry, inauguration weekend also means packed seats and massive profits.
Now, one campaign is bringing together the capital's top restaurants, bars, cafes, and distilleries to pledge a portion of their inflated inauguration profits to local service organisations and causes—many of which have been threatened by Trump's discriminatory political policies.
All in Service DC, the brainchild of local service industry professionals Amanda Carper and Alaina Dyne, launched in late December 2016 with the mission to highlight the diversity and compassion of their community as a whole. With an all-female staff of volunteers, the organisation has already signed on 54 businesses to participate in the campaign and are hoping to recruit more before Inauguration Day.
A number of high-profile dining destinations, including Café Saint-Ex, 24/7 Diner, Chez Billy Sud, and the new Momofuku CCDC have joined the cause, pledging to donate funds collected over the January 20–22 weekend to a diverse group of nonprofits.
Though All in Service is promoting the campaign as a celebration of diversity—rather than a direct affront to the President-elect's agenda—many of the participating businesses have chosen to financially support Planned Parenthood, an organisation Trump repeatedly threatened to defund over the course of his campaign because they provide abortion services.
Others have pledged their funds to organisations focused on the rights and wellbeing of the LGBTQ and immigrant communities, including the Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, the Central American Resource Center, The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, and Ayuda, which provides support to immigrants living in DC.
"Inauguration weekend is always an incredible event with hundreds of thousands of visitors… so we looked at how we could take this opportunity, while we're in the national spotlight, to showcase our community and what a great, diverse service industry we have," All in Service representative Sarah Massey tells MUNCHIES.
In recent years, the DC dining scene has boomed, boosted even further by the Michelin Guide's arrival in the city last fall. However, as Trump prepares to make the move from a gold-gilded Manhattan penthouse to the White House, DC chefs and restaurateurs have been left to speculate how this massive shift in power will affect the District's dining scene as a whole.
According to All in Service co-creator Amanda Dyne, this campaign is the chance for "hospitable bartenders, chefs, and servers" across the capital to engage in activism and throw their support behind causes they are passionate about. "All in Service DC offers a great opportunity to merge the world of service and philanthropy, so everyone can feel good about their contributions," Dyne says in a press release.
While the organization's mission isn't explicitly anti-Trump, as DC, and the entire nation, braces for the looming inauguration—not to mention the four years to follow—sending a message of hope and inclusivity is imperative now more than ever. "This campaign is about love and compassion for our diverse community," Massey says. "That includes our incredible patrons and customers, our workforce that lives here, and our greater community as a whole."
To see all of the businesses participating in the campaign, visit the All in Service DC website.