July 23, 2017
Just a few months after heroin tragically claimed the life of Anthony Luciano III, his father is making good on a pledge to combat the harmful stigma and shame surrounding addiction.
South Philly cheesesteak restaurateur Tony Luke Jr., who recently launched the #BrownandWhite and #ImNotaNumber social media campaigns, views his activism as a movement to bring recognition to the shared struggle of America's opioid epidemic.
In a PSA released last week, Luke Jr., who once battled a crystal meth addiction, called on families across the country to share pictures of their lost loved ones and proudly display their progress in overcoming their illness.
"Let the world know they are not a number," Luke Jr. said. "They are a human being that lived, struggled and died fighting this addiction."
Tony Luke III died at the age of 35 on March 27 in Logan Township, New Jersey. He had just begun working with his father again at the restaurant's reopened Sicklerville location when he passed away. Luke Jr. described his son as seemingly happy at the time of his death, further underscoring the importance of vigilance and action in the face of a loved one's addiction.
Within weeks, Luke Jr.'s #BrownandWhite campaign has inspired participation and supportive posts from around the country.
Luke Jr. has been attending speaking events and visiting with local families to support the new campaign. His mission and message appear to be catching on.
“I don’t want to establish a foundation or a website," Luke Jr. said. “There will be no fundraising. I want this to be organic. I want to let others who have lost a loved one to this dreadful disease know they are not alone."