By Dave Kempa
A Sacramento black women’s group is calling for a boycott of MiX Downtown and other local venues for what it considers to be racial discrimination.
In an open letter to Sacramento restaurant and bar owner Mason Wong, Sacramento Sister Circle has announced a boycott of MiX Downtown, Cafeteria 15L/The Park Ultra Lounge, Iron Horse Tavern and Firestone Public House until Wong and his associates take steps to fix what they believe to be a pattern of “blatant racial discrimination.”
The boycott comes after a discussion on Sacramento Sister Circle’s 2,800-member Facebook group—comprised of professional black women in the region—revealed a two-year pattern of what it considers mistreatment at MiX Downtown and related venues. The group doesn’t believe ownership or management has adequately responded to its members’ complaints.
“It’s been happening over and over again,” said Christi Ketchum, founder of Sacramento Sisters Circle. “At some point we have to say enough is enough and that is not OK.”
On its Facebook page, the Sacramento Sister Circle describes itself as “an open and safe space for Black Women to come together and discuss pressing issues and the good, bad, ugly, and amazing events happening in our lives.”
The group discussion began after a Facebook post by a Sacramento woman went viral.
In her July 8 post, Brionna Powe described a scene in which she said she was attacked physically and verbally by a bouncer at MiX Downtown.
Powe wrote that a white bouncer came up to her as the bar was closing, grabbed her arm and told her it was time to leave. When she told him to take his hand off her, she says he responded that “he will do what ever the fuck he wants to do.” She says he then started to “man handle” her, and then called her a “nappy headed bitch” when she tried to break free of his grip.
The post, which includes an image of Powe’s broken and bloody nails, has been shared more than 900 times on Facebook.
“It hit me personally,” said Ketchum. “For them to put their hands on her, for them to call her the names that they called her, it did not sit well with me.”
Neither MiX Downtown management nor Wong returned a request for comment by the time of this posting.
Powe says she will be taking the incident to court. At her attorney’s request, she declined to discuss the night at MiX Downtown, but she did speak with SN&R about the fallout.
“It’s been a painful, stressful past three weeks trying to get this out there,” said Powe. “I kind of felt inferior, and that’s why I appreciate the Sister Circle because they gave me the support that I didn’t think I had.”
In its letter, Sacramento Sister Circle is calling for a public apology to Powe, termination of MiX Downtown’s current security team’s contract, and for the business to post on its websites and social media pages the steps MiX will take “to improve relations with African Americans.” It also requested cultural sensitivity training for all staff and contractors that come in contact with customers.
“I would like for (Sacramento residents) to not patronize any of these establishments because I think this has been happening for way too long,” said Ketchum. “They have not done anything to rectify the situation.”
Pick up the July 28 issue of SN&R for the latest on this story.