Help Oharas

 
Raised: $20.00
Goal: $500.00
 
 
 

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Oharas Tupelo

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500PJ’s Plea for O’Hara’s This summer I have been trying to reopen a bar, O’Hara’s that I operated in the 1990’s in Shannon, Mississippi – a small town south of Tupelo. The bar mainly... more

 
 
 
 
 
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Created by Oharas Tupelo on August 14, 2013

500PJ’s Plea for O’Hara’s

This summer I have been trying to reopen a bar, O’Hara’s that I operated in the 1990’s in Shannon, Mississippi – a small town south of Tupelo. The bar mainly served LGBT customers, though it was welcoming to all. The bar was a place where LGBT people could gather and socialize without fear, and was the only gay bar within about a 100-mile radius.

Since I’ve owned businesses and had owned a bar in Shannon before, I didn’t think it would be a problem to get a license and reopen O’Hara’s. I thought it would be easy – just complete the requirements, pass inspection and like any other business obtain a license and open the doors.

I was wrong.

When I went to apply for the license, I was told that I would have to go before the Board of Aldermen. So on June 4, I went into the meeting confident and positive that by the end of the meeting I would have my business license for O’Hara’s.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, a group of at least 30 townspeople were at the meeting and my application was at the top of the agenda.I was confronted with a petition against the bar signed by almost 200 of the town’s 1800 residents. Citizens and alderman questions were full or fear and even insults. I felt alone, shocked and frustrated, but I attempted to answer their questions and addressed their concerns.

Although my application met all the requirements, the board rejected it citing public health and safety concerns.

After leaving the meeting, I went to the bar, loaded up some personal items and decided I was finished. I would leave and not return. I would not open the bar. But while driving, I realized that was exactly what those people who insulted me wanted me to do and I changed my mind. I thought about my friends, my customers and the people who needed a place to work and perform.

I knew that if I walked away, it would be the wrong thing to do. The board could not do this and get away with it. I’m now fighting this through legal avenues, but I still want to open my bar and I need help. I signed a lease for the building and had all utilities turned on expecting to have my bar open. Now I’m struggling to pay the bills because I can’t open the doors. With your help, I can keep my lease until this legal battle is over.
 
 
 
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Recent Donations (1)

$20 raised by 1 person in 8 months.

$20.00

Erin Gowdy

6 months ago

 
 

It's sad that this town would refuse to grant a business license for such a petty reason. Good luck in the fight to get its doors open!

 

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