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Orange County Bar Ignites Anger Over Cinco De Mayo Celebration With Inflatable Wall And Fake Green Cards

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Hennessey's Tavern in Dana Point, CA celebrated Cinco de Mayo Saturday with an inflatable climbing wall and fake "green card" tickets that people could redeem for a free drink if they climbed over the wall. Paul Hennessey, the bar's owner, told the L.A. Times he hoped to "get people talking," adding it was "our way of protesting the fact that Trump wants to spend billions of dollars to build a wall that is pretty useless." Bar-goers disagreed, showering the bar's Facebook and Yelp pages with angry reviews, accusing the bar of trivializing the immigrant experience and the political ramifications of a border wall.

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A popular Facebook post, quoted in the OC Weekly, describes how Dana Point has a history of racism against Latin American communities, adding how "People are being deported and families are being broken up. I know this was meant to be a joke, but so many of us are not laughing."

Paul Hennessey responded to the reactions with a statement on Facebook:

A message from Paul Hennessey:
I would like to thank everyone for your comments about our climbing wall. Our intentions were to create a dialogue and show how ridiculous that it is to spend tens of millions of dollars to build a wall and even infer that Mexico foot some or the entire bill and have their citizens build it.
This event obviously struck a chord with many of you out there and you and a number of you did not understand our intent. I encourage all of you to take the time that you have spent posting on social media to spend an equal or greater amount of time writing your congressman or the President himself to express your concerns just as I have.
Thank you for your comments and let’s stop this wall from being built.

Gustavo Arellano at OC Weekly points out the relationship between Irish and Mexican communities in America for having holidays co-opted by American culture (St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo, respectively), so it's not unusual for an Irish bar like Hennessey's Tavern to host a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Cinco de Mayo is also oftenmisunderstood in America as Mexican Independence Day (that day is September 16), so Hennessey's Tavern took a risk attempting to ignite respectful conversation about the immigration crisis on a day that represents the cultural disconnect between America and Mexico.