Jessica Rodriguez

In modern times, especially through social media platforms, issues related to social justice are more visible than ever. In our Colorado Springs community, there’s a locally owned business which we can all look to as an example for doing our part in being activists for social change. For many individuals, this location is a place where they genuinely feel safe and included. The business welcomes a diverse group of guests each and every day, hosts a comfortable, calm environment to enjoy a delicious meal, and they are directly involved with financially supporting under-funded community organizations every month.

The Burrowing Owl is a quaint, calm, and refreshing lounge located on S. 8th Street.

You’ll know it when you see the Black Lives Matter flag, the LGBTQ flag, and the homey, unique outdoor seating area with soft lights and rustic decor. Before you even walk inside, you’ll see directly on the front door, that they boldly display their values of respect, civil discourse, social-justice, tolerance, and non-violence. They conclude with “This place is for everyone! (If you want it).”

The owners of the Burrowing Owl were kind enough to speak with me in an interview.

As an undergraduate student at UCCS, I’m taking an introductory Women’s and Ethnic Studies class, and for my Social Action project, it’s my intention to raise awareness of this local business which takes action in our community to make it a better place for everyone.

To the Burrowing Owl owners, Tyler and Cody, social justice is recognizing where oppression comes from, becoming free from that, and helping others to be free from it as well. The Burrowing Owl addresses social injustices locally by raising money for nonprofit organizations and charities, ensuring their location is a safe space for all, and using their institution to raise awareness of social justice.

While they take action towards supporting local change, they also are sure to not act

aggressively about their values, or make any situations worse. Their staff is trained to notice

possible tension among guests. For example, if a woman who arrives alone seems like she is

being approached in a way that makes her uncomfortable, the staff is trained to recognize that

and step in. Tyler and Cody explained that they will usually say to a seemingly problematic

person that “maybe this isn’t the place for you.” It’s their intention not to escalate emotions.

Safety and respect are their top priorities. They mention that occurrences like this are rare, and this is attributed to how clearly they make their values known.

Any time a person enjoys a meal or beverage at the Burrowing Owl, they’re contributing to what is called the “giving tree.” It’s a compilation of multiple organizations that the Burrowing Owl donates to every month. The owners believe in pouring back into the community. They want to spread what we need more of in our society, like art, education, music, and animal welfare. Just a few of the organizations include: Inside Out Youth Services, Wikipedia, Cottonwood Center for the Arts, KRCC 91.5 FM, and Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary.

The Burrowing Owl hopes to influence the community by improving education and arts for children and everyone, donating to social causes, and also by being an example to other restaurants and businesses in the community. Veganism is about liberation for all, including our fellow human beings. They hope to lead in the community by example, by building up organizations that need support.

Whether you are inspired by the ethically responsible actions of the Owl, and begin to take action in similar ways, or you simply begin to enjoy more meals at this restaurant and support their cause, we can all look to this local business as a source of hope.

You can read more on their website here:

Jessica Rodriguez is an undergraduate student at UCCS.

Jessica Rodriguez is an undergraduate student at UCCS.


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