Protesters and patrons gather for Chick-fil-A opening in Kitchener
Customers queued and a handful of protesters on Saturday expressed concern about the franchise’s support for anti-LGBTQ organizations
Kitchener’s freshly baked Chick-fil-A restaurant held a grand opening event on Saturday – with customers lining up along the sidewalk to sample the American fast food franchise’s chicken.
Steps away from these eager customers, a handful of protesters were spotted holding a “peaceful through passionate” protest, hoisting signs and waving pride and non-binary flags of pride to indicate the company’s “poor track record” for support and funding by anti-2SLGBTQ + organizations.
One of these protesters was Joan Arrow, a Kitchener resident and a member of the local LGBTQ community. Arrow moved here from Arizona to graduate from the University of Waterloo, and said they were delighted to feel more accepted and secure as they moved to Canada from their home state – despite the fact that chick-fil continues to expand -A franchises are concerned about a spread of “anti-LGBTQ lobbying and rhetoric”.
“When I came to Canada, I came to a country that has civil rights for the LGBTQ community, then I see Chick-fil-A, a notoriously hateful organization that has funded anti-LGBTQ organizations we finally have here in Canada and found it in Kitchener and brought the same hateful agenda to Canada, “Arrow said.
“I had to come out to protest the spread of hatred by Chick-fil-A.”
As shoppers exited the new location with drive-thru and pick-up services, the scene remained peaceful – with the occasional customer offering protesters some of their food or shouting their own support for the restaurant’s food. Arrow pointed out that the intention of the protest was not to antagonize or insult each other, but rather to wave the flag of pride and “send a simple message that Chick-fil-A is anti-gay”.
“People who stand in line have been locked down for a year. When you see a new place, people just want to try it out, and I can’t blame them for being curious, “said Arrow. “I’ve even looked at some people from this lineage who have joined our singing because they’re not here to spread hatred. You’re here to eat chicken – and the fact that the two are linked is a cardinal sin, I think. “
According to Chick-fil-A Inc., the new Kitchener location is expected to employ up to 100 full- and part-time team members – as Arrow said, they will enjoy more jobs, variety and support for the local community. However, they claimed Chick-fil-A still had a responsibility to “step up” and acknowledge the “plus decades of damage” they had done to the LGBTQ community when they asked the company to take specific action commit.
In a press release sent to 570 NEWS, a Chick-fil-A spokesperson stated that the company “prides itself on being represented by more than 200,000 different team members nationwide” as the restaurant strives to have a “positive impact” on asking the local community to donate US $ 25,000 to the Waterloo Area Food Bank through their SharedTable program to help fight hunger.
“I am happy when the people in their communities do good, but that is a different topic,” said Pfeil. “The topic today is LGBTQ rights and the bad track record of this company with those rights – and I think it’s interesting that they chose not to tackle this issue head-on.”
“If you are really ready to donate to the community, you know what to do.”
Chick-fil-A Kitchener’s owner Olivia Efford said everyone is welcome at Chick-fil-A Kitchener as she said the site “respects people’s right to share their opinions”.
“We look forward to serving Kitchener-Waterloo residents and hope they enjoy their first experience of our delicious food and remarkable service.”
Protesters and customers gather for the opening of a new Chick-fil-A location on Fairway Road in Kitchener.
Protesters hold a “peaceful but passionate” protest and express their disapproval of the company’s alleged “long history of homophobia and transphobia” @ 570NEWS pic.twitter.com/4WpfZKcPMP
– Luke Schulz (@lukeontheradio) August 7, 2021