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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Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges After Running Over Latino and Black Children With Her Car

Things That Matter

Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges After Running Over Latino and Black Children With Her Car

Photo: Polk County Jail via Associated Press

On Wednesday, an Iowa woman pled guilty to federal hate crime charges. The woman, 43-year-old Nicole Poole Franklin, intentionally hit a 12-year-old Black boy and a 14-year-old Latina with her car in 2019. The charges include two counts of violating the U.S Hate Crime Act, as Poole Franklin intended to kill the victims because of their ethnicity.

Nicole Poole Franklin admitted to authorities that she targeted the girl because she thought she looked “Mexican”. She thought the boy was an Islamic terrorist.

As part of her defense, Poole Franklin is claiming that she suffers from schizophrenia and PTSD. Since her arrest, she admitted to police officers that she smoked meth before going on her hate-filled rampage.

The incident, which happened in December of 2019, struck fear into the hearts of communities of color in Des Moines, Iowa, where the hate crimes took place. “Anytime things happen to any minority, people are concerned about what happened,” said Joe Gonzalez, the executive director of Latino Resources Inc. in Iowa. “It was a horrific thing and people were concerned — especially people of color.”

When Nicole Poole Franklin ran over the children, she injured the boy’s leg. The girl, Natalia Miranda, was knocked unconscious and hospitalized for two days.

Natalia Miranda was walking to junior high school on December 9, 2019, when Poole Franklin ran her down on the side walk. Miranda was unconscious for 40 minutes before she woke up and walked to school, where she alerted the authorities.

Natalia Miranda says she remembers the car speeding towards her, but she doesn’t remember being hit. “I was in the hospital and I tried moving, and I couldn’t get out of my bed,” the 14-year-old told KCCI. “Sitting up was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”

As of now, prosecutors are recommending that Nicole Poole Franklin serve 27 years behind bars.

Poole Franklin is also looking at two charges of attempted murder–both of which could carry up to 25 years each. Prosecutors are recommending that she serves all of the jailtime–state and federal–at the same time.

Here’s to hoping that the justice system does what is right and puts Nicole Poole Franklin behind bars for a long time–if only to save the lives of innocent children of color whose only crime is walking down the street.

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A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Things That Matter

A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Photo via @the_asian_dawn/Instagram

In another incident that highlights the anti-Asian sentiment that is on the rise in recent months, a 70-year-old California woman was attacked in Eagle Rock, earlier this month. According to news reports, a young woman attacked her while she was exiting the bus to pick up groceries.

The elderly woman, who goes by Becky, is Mexican-American. But her attacker yelled an anti-Asian slur at her before physically assaulting her.

According to AAPI news site Asian Dawn, Becky’s attacker was a 23-year-old woman who was also riding the bus with her. The woman did nothing to provoke the attack. The young woman ended up dragging the older woman from the back of the bus to the front of the bus. Becky ended up in the hospital with a broken nose, a concussion, two severely swollen eyes, and chunks of her hair torn from her head.

According to Becky’s son, who only goes by Pete, while the family are Mexican-American, people often mistake their family for being of Asian descent. According to Pete, no one intervened to stop the young woman from attacking his mother.

“Nobody would help. Not even the bus driver,” the woman’s son told The Eastsider.

Finally, the young woman stopped her attack after a fellow passenger called 911. The police were able to apprehend the young woman after issuing a bulletin for her arrest.

According to Pete, his mother has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Already suffering from lupus and arthritis, her mother is having trouble walking. Her leg is badly bruised from the assault.

The fact that the victim was Mexican-American serves to illustrate how ignorant and hateful these racist attacks are. There is no rhyme or reason to hate.

Many are linking the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus originated in Wuhan, China. The violent racists that have been attacking people who appear to be of Asian descent believe that Asian-Americans are somehow personally responsible for the pandemic.

If you to support the #StopAsianHate cause, donate to organizations like gofundme.com/AAPI or the Asian American Legal defense fund here.

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