June 15, 2018 (New York, NY)--A number of organizations, including Women’s March, National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), 100 Black Men, and civil rights leaders are advising Black people and LGBTQIA+/same gender loving (SGL) people to avoid Waffle House restaurants following a string of incidents of racial and homophobic bias and discrimination.
While the incidents occurred in different states, the corporation has responded by validating the use of excessive police force against Black patrons of its restaurants. Chikesia Clemons and Anthony Wall, both of whom had nonviolent disputes with staff, were brutalized by officers arriving at the scene and now face charges for the assaults against their own bodies. Just this week, new reports of another incident in Florida have surfaced where a Black couple was arrested after a nonviolent dispute over their final bill.
Gathering with supporters at Waffle House headquarters in Atlanta, Chikesia Clemons, Anthony Wall, their families, attorneys and activists who support them came together to drop off thousands of signatures demanding the Saraland Police Department and the Warsaw Police Department drop all charges against Chikesia and Anthony and offer them both a public apology.
Tamika D. Mallory, national civil rights activist and Co-President of Women’s March, said, “As Black women and as mothers, we are tired of seeing our sons and daughters being brutalized and assaulted. We know the conduct we saw on the video happens often, and cameras are not always there. Having charges filed against Chikesia and against Anthony is victim blaming at its worst. We will stand with them until the charges are dropped and until Waffle House takes responsibility for its role in the abuse of these two young people.”
"Minority populations are routinely facing discrimination in our society, and this reality is compounded when one has several intersecting minority identities like being Black and LGBTQ/SGL; however, we do not have to — and will not — support any business, Waffle House included, as long as the organization and its leadership continues to show a lack of respect for the basic civil rights of all human beings," said David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition. "Dropping the charges against Ms. Clemons and Mr. Wall is a mandatory first step to right these wrongs. And beyond that, before we even consider returning our Black dollars to Waffle House or any other corporation that enables the egregious and discriminatory behavior to which far too many black and LGBTQ/SGL customers experience, it imperative that they invest in the necessary cultural competence training for their employees and implement policies and best practices for working with intersectional communities."
Brittany Packnett, activist and co-founder of Campaign Zero, added, “Oppression will continue as long as businesses care more about profit than people. Since Waffle House’s repeated actions send the clear message that they don’t care about marginalized people, we will no longer provide them our profit. Bigotry should never pay-and Waffle House should be an example to all corporations that our humanity will be respected.”
Instead of rallying on the side of their customers, a sign of sound customer service, Waffle House corporate headquarters doubled down on their violent actions, releasing a statement in support of the Saraland Police Department, which filed criminal charges against Ms. Clemons.