Defiantly scooping up sweetness in the face of hate, Smitten Ice Cream, a Jewish-owned busness, has swung its doors open once more in San Francisco’s Mission District after a discriminatory attack that shuttered the ice cream parlor for a month.
The hate crime suspects, who left the shop's windows shattered and its walls stained with hate-fueled graffiti, failed to freeze the community’s heart. In an outpouring of support, patrons and neighbors have shown that love can indeed be served cold—as ice cream. In a statement obtained by ABC7 News, owner Robyn Sue Fisher reflected on the attack, saying, "The attack on the store really left us, me and my team left us scared and hurt."
Hate was met with an astounding wave of support, and Smitten’s relaunch was made possible by contributions exceeding $100,000 raised through GoFundMe. This community-driven effort not only covered damages and increased security measures, but it also provided for the wages of the 18 staff members during their unintended hiatus. According to the store’s website, Fisher expressed her gratitude, noting the heartwarming response from hundreds within the community that “has meant more to me than words can express.”
In true San Francisco spirit, Fisher unveiled a "Choose Love" flavor on reopening day, a tribute to resilience and unity, brimming with strawberries, blueberries, and raspoutinely heart-shaped sprinkles. According to a post on the company’s website, Fisher stated, “This is a defining moment for us as a community, as leaders, and as parents of children who are watching us and learning from our actions.” In addition to the flavor, “Pillar of Love” crowd-sourced art and “In the spirit of ice cream, I choose LOVE” merchandise will benefit the Courage Museum, an educational center aimed at fostering empathy.
Fisher's resilience has echoed through the streets of San Francisco, earning praise and admiration. “It's amazing that she could turn something directed at her by hate and turn it into community and love. I think it's really a wonderful thing,” Dan German of San Francisco told ABC7 News.