MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Alfonso Medina had an idea to place a sign outside his restaurant La Carreta along old Highway 30 in southeast Marshalltown. The sign supported Black Lives Matter, No Human is Illegal, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, Science is Real, and Water is Life. Medina thought everyone supported those ideas. But not everyone did.
Medina got an anonymous letter from a patron who found the sign offensive to those who believe in family values, unborn babies and legal immigration. The writer said he and his party of diners would not be back.
Medina, in social media posts responding to the letter, said letters like these “give me courage to continue and letters like these will do the opposite of what the sender is trying to do, intimidate.”
He finished the post with “No Love, No Tacos.” The statement went viral on social media. Because of that, the 30-year-old businessman trademarked the saying in all 50 states. T-shirts were printed and sold.
“I set some customers off. We didn’t think, and we still don’t think, there was anything wrong with the sign. We were just advocating for basic human rights,” said Medina. “We didn’t mean it to get political, but that’s what it came down to.”
In addition to the shirts, he painted a giant “NO LOVE, NO TACOS” sign outside his business. This past weekend a story was published by CNN about the sign. T-shirt orders have been coming in from all over.
Some customers support both Medina and the sign.
“My thought on this is that we certainly want to bring people together,” said Ken Walton. “I believe that the owner here wants to bring people together here. We’re here in part to get ‘No Love, No Tacos’ t-shirts for our daughter.”
“I kind of followed this in the news. There’s been some unrest and divisiveness,” said Teresa Walton. “We have to be accepting of people and supportive of people. And who doesn’t love a taco?”
The t-shirt sales have been used to raise money for scholarships at Marshalltown Community College. Medina contributed $4,000 to a scholarship fund.