Saluté E Vita Ristorante owner Menbe Aklilu will treat 200 Richmond students to lunch on Saturday, March 24 in association with the March For Our Lives event, according to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt’s office.
The mayor’s office is planning a March For Our Lives event from Nevin Plaza to the Civic Center on Saturday starting at 11 a.m., the same day a youth-led March For Our Lives action is set to occur in Washington D.C. The rally will be one of hundreds of events worldwide coinciding with the D.C. march, where organizers say kids and families plan to take to the streets to demand gun reform and an end to mass school shootings. The event was inspired by survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead.
While students will participate in downtown Richmond, those from Richmond College Prep plan to meet in front of Richmond’s Rosie the Riveter National Park Maritime Building, 1014 Florida Ave., at 10:30 a.m. for a short rally. Chartered buses will then take them to Saluté.
Aklilu said she wants to treat children participants to lunch so they “know they are loved” and “to know I am in solidarity with them.”
“I join my voice with theirs. …Not one more,” Aklilu said in a statement.
Aklilu, a domestic violence survivor who worked her way up from host to owner of Salute’s in Richmond’s Marina Bay neighborhood, constantly uses her business to do good in the community, from annual Thanksgiving feasts for the homeless and needy to donating portions of restaurant sales to the West County Family Justice Center and other causes.