Things That Matter

Buffalo Wild Wings Faces Backlash After Booting An African American Family From From Its Restaurant For ‘Racist’ Regular

Like most families who hit up Buffalo Wild Wings for a family birthday, the Vahl family was looking for a friendly family meal when they went to the restaurant on a Saturday night in Chicago. However, the family and their party, a group made up mostly of African American adults and children, were faced with a dreadful experience of discrimination instead.

The family had just sat down for a meal when staff at the restaurant ordered them to leave their table.

The incident started when another customer insisted he would not be seated by Black people.

PSA: I usually don’t post these types of things but we think people need to be aware of the situation.Last night…

Posted by Mary Vahl on Sunday, October 27, 2019

Last week on October 26,  the Vahl family and their party, which included 18 people, headed to a Buffalo Wild Wing located in a strip mall in Naperville, Ill. Naperville is reported to be a racially diverse suburb about 40 minutes southwest of Chicago. In a post to her Facebook page, Mary Vahl described the racist encounter. The story has been shared more than 4,500 times as of Monday afternoon.

At the time, Justin Vahl asked for a table of 15 for his family. However, as the host began to set up their table, he realized he’d made a mistake and approached her asking to accommodate for a table of 18. Then the host asked Vahl a question that caught him off guard,  “What race are you guys?” A report from the Washington Post says that the young host was African American.  Justin Vahl asked why it mattered and the host replied that a table with 2 of their “regular customers” were next to where they were to be seated and he didn’t want the party sitting there because he is “racist.”

Not wanting to give the customer the “satisfaction” of leaving, the family sat down at the table anyway and began their orders.  According to Mary Vahl, they realized who the customer was because he, at this point, continued to shoot them glares. However, it wasn’t until the other customer spoke to waitstaff and had a manager ask them to move that things got serious.

“These seats are reserved,” a staff member told them, “and we will have to move your group.” According to the Naperville Sun, Buffalo Wild Wings does not take reservations. According to Mary Vahl, the men at the party politely refused and requested to speak with the manager. It turns out the staff member who attempted to get them to move WAS the manager. 

When the family finally complained to their waitress, she replied that she was already aware of the situation. Vahl expressed her frustration in her post saying, “How is an establishment ok with serving people who try to control which types of people sit around them?! It was not ok that that a person of management was willing to move 6 adults and 12 children versus 2 grown adults who are uncomfortable sitting by black folks!!” 

By this point, Vahl said the group had been made to feel extremely uncomfortable for the situation they were subjected to and eventually the restaurant’s service manager, a woman named Hannah, approached them.  “After already speaking to the other table, to say that it was told to her that our seats were already reserved by a party of 18 that called in.” Vahl explained in her post. “Although we walked in with no call, if these tables were in fact reserved there would have been a reserved sign on the table. At this time management is giving every excuse for their “misunderstanding” because John decides to change his story in front of his superior. We call him out on his words and tell him he didn’t “think the tables were reserved” and blatantly told us they WERE reserved and we HAVE to move our group.”

According to a member of the party named Marcus Riley who talked to WBBM, several customers outside of the party got up to hug the group when they finally had it and decided to leave. According to Riley, the host at the restaurant had tears in his eyes as the group left. 

“In 2019, this type of behavior should not be accepted because of certain views,” Vahl wrote. “If you don’t want to sit next to certain people in a public restaurant then you should probably eat dinner in the comfort of your own home. A moment to hang out with a group of friends after a birthday party turned into a discussion with our young impressionable sons about how we didn’t get kicked out, but willingly CHOSE to leave because of the unfair treatment we were being given. This Buffalo Wild Wings location has lost our business indefinitely. Thank you to the Hooters for serving our group and the patrons of Hooters for not being close-minded people that would ruin the night of others.”

After the incident went viral, the restaurant chain announced the staff that had been involved had been fired.

“If you don’t want to sit next to certain people in a public restaurant then you should probably eat dinner in the comfort of your own home,” Mary Vahl wrote on Facebook.

A Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson told the Associated Press on Monday that it had conducted an internal investigation and fired the employees involved.

The company “values an inclusive environment and has zero-tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” a spokesperson said in a statement to WBBM.

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A Florida Doctor Is Being Charged with a Hate Crime After Assaulting a Latino Man at a Supermarket

Things That Matter

A Florida Doctor Is Being Charged with a Hate Crime After Assaulting a Latino Man at a Supermarket

Photos via MIAMI-DADE CORRECTIONS, Getty Images

It’s an unfortunate reality that Latinos face immense amounts of racism in America. Case in point: a Florida doctor is facing hate crime charges after assaulting a Latino man at a supermarket.

According to police, a 58-year-old woman followed a Latino man out to the parking lot, keyed his car, smashed his phone, and punched him–all the while hurling racially-charged insults at him.

The altercation happened on Jan. 20th at a Publix supermarket in Hialeah, Florida–a town with a large Latino population. It all started when the victim, an unnamed Latino man, asked Dr. Jennifer Susan Wright to maintain social distancing in Spanish. After she ignored him, the man repeated the question in English.

It was at this point that Dr. Wright, who is an anesthesiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center, became incensed and began muttering curse words under her breath. After the man left the grocery store, Dr. Wright followed him out to the parking lot.

She began to verbally berate him, calling him a “spic” and telling him “we should have gotten rid of you when we could.”

According to the police report, she also said: “This is not going to be Biden’s America, this is my America.” The woman then took her keys out an began to “stab the victim’s vehicle with her keys” while telling him to “go back to his country”.

The man took out his phone to call 911 and the woman allegedly punched him, causing him to drop his phone. When he bent over to pick his phone up, she allegedly kicked him and tried to stomp on his phone.

The woman fled before the police came, but she was arrested on Feb 12th at her home in Miami Springs.

The woman was initially charged with tampering with a victim, criminal mischief and battery with prejudice. The “hate crime” charge was later added, elevating the crime to a felony.

According to reports, Wright posted her $1000 bail and is now awaiting trial. Mount Sinai Medical Center released a statement saying that Dr. Wright is “no longer responsible for patient care” after assaulting a Latino man.

According to the Miami Herald, neighbors know Dr. Jennifer Wright as an ardent Trump supporter. Her social media pages are riddled with far-right, Pro-Trump memes and photos of her posing in a MAGA hat. She even uploaded a post that read: “It’s Okay To Be White.”

We can all agree that it’s “okay” to be white. It’s okay to be any race. We cannot, however, all agree that it’s okay to be a violent, racist bigot. We hope the victim has recovered and we hope Jennifer Wright will face justice.

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Arizona Congresswoman Says That Hispanics Are ‘Good Workers’ But Shouldn’t Get Vaccines Before ‘American Citizens’

Things That Matter

Arizona Congresswoman Says That Hispanics Are ‘Good Workers’ But Shouldn’t Get Vaccines Before ‘American Citizens’

Photo via Getty Images

Coronavirus infection rates are falling drastically, but a new debate rages on: how to quickly, effectively, and ethically distribute vaccines to as many people as possible.

Last week, Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko stated that Hispanic people–despite being “good workers”–shouldn’t get vaccinated before “American citizens”.

“I worked with people that are Hispanic,” Rep. Lesko said “I mean they’re very good workers…We’re compassionate people, but for goodness sakes, we have to take care of American citizens, or people that are here legally, first.”

She continued: “I’m just not going to be able to explain to my senior citizens that we’re giving away the vaccines to people that (are) here illegally. I just think that’s totally wrong.”

“My Democratic colleagues are putting illegal immigrants over them,” Lesko said during the hearing. “If I read it right, all this amendment says is put Americans first. Put Americans first, and once they’re all vaccinated, then you can go to the illegal immigrants.”

The statement was made during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing where representatives were debating an amendment to a COVID-19 relief bill.

The Republican amendment suggested prioritizing American citizens over non-citizens when it comes to getting vaccinated first. Democrats argued that purposefully excluding non-citizens from getting vaccinated would keep the virus from being properly contained.

“The vaccine has no clue about where you come from, whether you have papers, whether you’re considered a citizen or legal or not,” said Democratic Congresswoman from Illinois, Jan Schakowsky. “It makes no sense. This is dangerous.”

Arizona State Senator Martin Quezada told NBC News that Lesko’s statement “reeks of racism.”

“There are a lot of people of color in her district and for her to be disconnected and really that offensive about how she sees us, as nothing more than good workers and not entitled to equitable vaccine distribution,” he said.

When asked about her remarks, Rep. Lesko defend them to political outlet The Hill: “Taken in context, my remarks clearly were aimed at ensuring that seniors receive taxpayer-funded vaccines before illegal immigrants,” she said. “During debate on the amendment, after being interrupted several times, I said something that could be misinterpreted, but it certainly was not my intent.”

But it seems that it this point, Lesko is trying to do damage control. Just today, she tweeted out a picture of the local “Hispanic Advisory Board”, accompanied by a caption written completely in Spanish.

“Estoy orgullosa por el lanzamiento de nuestra Junta Asesora Hispana, la primera reunión fue anoche,” the tweet read. “Esta se enfocará en las maneras en que podemos servir mejor a los miembros de nuestra comunidad Hispana en Arizona!” (“I am proud of the launch of our Hispanic Advisory Board, the first meeting was last night. It will focus on ways we can better serve members of our Hispanic community in Arizona!“)

Serving a state that is 30% Hispanic, it seems like Lesko may now be regretting her previous comments…

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