“Mostly peaceful” spray painted on a window at Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails (Facebook/Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails)
Editor’s note: This story contains images of graffitied swastikas.
Jonathan Jones was having lunch on Memorial Day when he got a message from a customer telling him his restaurant, Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails, had been vandalized again.
Jones said someone graffitied swastikas and anti-Black Lives Matter messaging all over the business’s windows and lampposts and sidewalk. They graffitied “all lives matter” on the sidewalk in front of the front door as well as “mostly peaceful.”
He said the latter is about the coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests. “The racists have created this world that they believe in where Black people are violent,” he said. “They’ve now started using that phrase as sort of a retort to any sort of social justice.”
Their transgender inclusion flag and every “community-minded” sticker on the restaurant and nearby light pole were also spray painted.
Jones said restaurant’s surveillance camera caught the perpetrator on video trying to shatter the front door.
He reported the incident to the state Department of Justice’s bias crime unit.
A swastika graffitied near Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails (Facebook/Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails)
A trans inclusion flag spray painted over at Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails (Facebook/Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails)
Jones has been a vocal member of Salem’s Black Lives Matter movement. His restaurant was the scene of a New Years’ Day clash in 2021 between a group protecting the storefront and members of far-right groups like the Proud Boys and others, with nearly 50 officers intervening to separate the two groups.
Jones said the restaurant has been vandalized a couple of other times with grease paint, and they have received death threats and racist threats through voicemails and online.
He said it’s important to him that his staff are safe, and that everyone feels welcome and protected at Epilogue.
“The restaurant is a really important space for a lot of people. There’s not a lot of places where certain marginalized communities actually feel comfortable and welcome, and it means a lot to us to to make sure that that stays comfortable and safe for them,” he said. “As far as me personally, this isn’t my first rodeo and I think these these cowards are pretty used to people rolling over and just sort of letting things happen to them, and that’s not me. So every time they try and make us quiet, we get louder and we get bigger.”
He said people from the community turned out quickly and completely cleaned the building, sidewalk and light pole of any graffiti in around six hours.
“The only way to fight this, the only way to make the community safer is to actively push back against it,” he said. “If your neighbor is flying a Confederate flag, saying something about that, making that person know that it’s not welcome in your neighborhood. It takes a village to make sure that that actually gets driven out.”