When Joseph Maturo Jr., the mayor of East Haven, Conn., made an insensitive remark regarding the Hispanic community in his hometown, he unwittingly became a poster boy for a national advocacy group looking to build awareness for its cause.
On Jan. 24, a local television reporter asked Maturo how he planned to engage with the town’s Hispanic community after four local police officers were charged with harassing, beating and falsely arresting Hispanic residents. Maturo’s response? “I might have tacos when I go home,” he said.
According to the New York Times, Reform Immigration for America, which is campaigning for a "common-sense solution to our broken immigration system," sent 400 tacos to East Haven Town Hall on Jan. 26. In fact, spurred on the by the group, people offended by the mayor’s comments delivered over 2,000 tacos by the end of Jan. 26, reports MSNBC.com. The group also initiated an SMS campaign for people to register their own disapproval by texting the word “taco” to the advocacy group. According to Reform Immigration for America’s blog post on its Web site, the group received more than 4,500 texts over the entire day.
The response to Maturo’s comment is prime example of a nonprofit organization—for the price of a few hundred tacos—latching on to a hot news topic and building awareness for its cause. The most common response in such a case is usually a simple condemnation of the remark or action made by the offending party. However, this advocacy group went a step beyond, and in doing so, became the news.
Follow Sahil Patel: @sizpatel