Ramadan and halal tacos?
For many San Diego Muslims breaking their fast Saturday evening, it was their food of choice.
Off Balboa Avenue, in the center of San Diego, taco trucks set up for a long night of selling tacos, with a twist. The unique blend of two cultures — dubbed 'Taco Trucks at Every Mosque' - started as the brainchild of activist Rida Hamida. The event is intended to shatter stereotypes and unite cultures.
The name derives from a 2016 MSNBC interview where Trump supporter Marco Gutierrez called Latin culture “imposing” and said, “if you don't do something you're going to have taco trucks on every corner."
So activist Rida Hamida created 'Taco Trucks At Every Mosque,' as a way to bring together two cultures.
“This is definitely a shared moment of healing,” Hamida said. “When you eat together, you're experiencing this shared nurturing of the soul.”
This is Hamida’s fourth event across the U.S. and the first event in San Diego. Organizers have had one event in Santa Ana and two others in Garden Grove during Ramadan.
On Saturday evening, hundreds came out to enjoy the unique cuisine. One of those selling the special mix was Tony Ley, owner of Corozon de Torta. Ley crosses the U.S.-Mexico border each day to cook tacos and other Mexican food.
He says as a son of an immigrant, he understands the struggles other minorities face across the U.S. and in San Diego.
“The Muslim community here in America [are], for the most part, immigrants. And my parents were immigrants, too, and I know what it's like to be the butt of prejudice because of where you're from,” he said. “So if I can learn from them today and every day, it makes me a better American.”
Food has a funny way of uniting people, Ley said, and for him, it's special to see two different cultures coming together.
“These two communities, in particular, were sort of picked on during the electoral process last year, and if we can unite and show strength through food it’s an excellent opportunity for us to do so," he said.
For him, the event is the start of a conversation. His taco truck was parked outside of the Islamic Center of San Diego off Balboa Avenue for the last night of Ramadan.
“What better way to learn from another culture and build from that than to break bread?” said Ley.
Ramida said she hopes the event brings together cultures in a new way.
“We also have to nurture one another by getting to know one another and taking care of one another,” she said.