Sunday, August 30, 2020

Something to Know - 30 August

I ran across this email (from a Pomona College alum), that points out that systemic racism is indeed everywhere, as this incident in Marin County, just north of San Francisco shows.  How we evolve into a more inclusive, tolerant, and peaceful society is a long hard journey ahead.   HCR spins out the tale of the GeeOpie denial theme - did nothing wrong, doing nothing but right, and disenfranchising voters; what a great campaign strategy.

A long read. This is from a black shop owner in the very white town of Tiburon.  The police were called by a white neighbor because this couple was organizing a new shipment of clothing late at night in their own store. Only when a white neighbor steps in, does it de-escalate.  (Link to video-bottom of the post)
I have contacted the local paper - Marin Independent Journal and asked that they run a story about this latest display of racism in a very white and privileged county.
Here is the email for the Tiburon Chief of Police, Michael Cronin  This is his phone number 415-789-2807
Please let him know your feelings about his officers' behavior.
"We have been proving ourselves . . .  Last night we had a not so good exchange with Tiburon police at our place of work.

YEMA is the only black owned clothing store in Tiburon, California so many people in our community know who we are.

Some days we have to work late. Yesterday was one of those days.

We received new inventory during the day so we went back to our store, on Main street Tiburon California, to work late. One of our business friend was visiting us from washing DC so he came with us. This is around 1AM.

FYI, a popular restaurant close to us was still open and I could see their employees working late.

We are inside the store minding our business, All store lights are on and you can see us from outside because we have high windows all around the store.

Our store alarm did not go off, no one called the police, everything was peaceful.

Then we see Tiburon police car patrolling. We saw him drive around the block like 3 times. At one point he stopped across our store for a good minute. Then finally, the cop decided to come knock on our store door.

FYI, we didn't realize that when he was circling the block he was calling for back up.

I opened the door for him then he proceeded to tell me his purpose for knocking on our door was to check what we were doing at the store that late. And he wanted us to prove who we are. His tone not very like-able.

I expressed to him that there was no crime going on and we were going about our business. Then he insisted that he wanted us to prove who we are and to explain what we were doing at the store that late. I, kindly, explained that we didn't have to prove anything and asked for a supervisor.

That's when we knew he had already called for back up. Supervisor and another cop - who had his hand on his gun, by the way, showed up almost immediately. The supervisor came charged and did not come to deescalate anything.

The situation started getting out of hand so our friend from DC started recording the exchange (Video below).

I confirmed that I am the business owner but they wanted me to prove it. They refused to leave until I proved it. Everything I was saying fell on deaf ears.

Turns out, a white neighbor living next door woke up and came out to listen to this exchange. After a while, he shouted from his rooftop, "hey, that's his store". He yelled to them I was the business owner.

The cops did not utter a single word after our white neighbor said that. They left immediately without a word. Without saying anything. Except the first cop who knocked on our door. He still wanted me to prove that I was the business owner.


This is not the first time we've been stopped without a probable cause by Tiburon police.

7 months ago When I went to apply for a business license at Tiburon city hall, I parked my car at our local post office. I came back after a few minutes, dropped the mail in the car and started walking toward Tiburon city hall. On realizing I forgot my business application forms, i walked back to my car to grab the documents. When I finished my errands with city hall, I walked back, got in the car and when I attempted to drive off, more than 5 cop cars were surrounding me. Apparently, they got called by someone because I was "TOUCHING" people's cars. So I had to explain why i touched my car and I had to prove my car belonged to me.

I have been stopped for taking a walk to my house. I had to prove my house street and number and I had to prove that I live in Tiburon.

Hawi has been stopped more than 5 times, without probable cause, by the same cop, and she's had to prove that she deserves to live in Tiburon.

We know who we are and we love what we do. We have been proving how thankful we are to be alive, in good health and proving how grateful we are to live in the U.S.

We have been proving our gratitude working hard as black business owners.

Every year, we have been proving ourselves by building the YEMA brand and by using the proceeds to give scholarships to orphaned kids for the last four years.

We have been proving who we are by providing more than 20,000+ meals, food supplies and hygiene supplies to street kids and deserving families since Covid-19 shut down started.

We have been proving ourselves by proving sanitary pads for girls who need them every month.

We have been proving ourselves by creating beautiful high end clothing that people love.

We have been proving ourselves by volunteering our time and energy to mentor and teach kids in Tiburon about Africa and the importance of interconnectedness.

So we do not need to prove why we need to exist. We do not need to prove to police that we deserve to be at OUR clothing store way past business hours. We do not need to prove that we deserve to hustle like everyone else.

We just want to live and do our part in making the world a better place. We just want to be good joyful humans. After all, our brand's tagline is GOOD JOYFUL HUMAN.

When these things occur, they are always traumatic to me and always affects my psyche. As good joyful humans, let's talk about what it means to be a black business owner working late in an affluent neighborhood and the constant proving that comes with that."

posted by YEMA
10 Main Street
Tiburon, CA 94920


I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

No comments:

Post a Comment