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Media Contact: Raeisha Williams
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Community Calls For Boycott of Benihana Due To Racist, Dangerous Abuse Against Black Customers

Please be advised that on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at 4:00pm in front of Benihana Golden Valley, 850 Louisiana Avenue, South Golden Valley, MN 55426, community members will be speaking out against racist and discriminatory behavior towards African American customers by Benihana’s management.
“Our community is already dealing with the stress and trauma of witnessing what happened to George Floyd after a store owner called 911 on him. As a Black woman and mother of a toddler, I was nervous and fearful of how the police were going to treat us once they showed up on the scene. I was not only concerned for my safety, but the safety of the other Black women who were present, along with my elderly mother. Would any of this have happened if we were white women?”, said Raeisha Williams, founder of Guns Down Love Up.

On March 29, 2021, five Black Women, including an elder and toddler, were refused services after asking for their table to be properly cleaned and to speak with the manager. The police were called by the manager of Benihana’s Golden Valley location in an attempt to intimidate, criminalize, and physically remove the five women from the restaurant. The manager on duty, Kim, verbally threatened to have the woman arrested if the women did not get up from the table in which they were seated and leave the restaurant. The request from the manager came without explanation and/or reason.

“This was the modern-day Jim Crow refusal of service to customers based on the color of their skin,” said Rosemary Nevils Williams, elder, activist and co-founder of the African American Center of Minnesota, in response to being forcibly removed from the restaurant.

“As a St. Paul Public Schools board member, I don’t expect special treatment when I go out to restaurants, but as a Black woman who works on behalf of my community, I do expect to be treated with dignity. I was excited about celebrating my birthday with my wife and my closest friends, but the Benihana manager’s discriminatory treatment turned my celebration into a nightmare. I don’t want to see other Black customers treated like second class citizens in businesses they patronize,” said Chauntyll Allen, founder of Black Lives Matter Twin Cities and Love First.

The Parties’ Demands Include:

• Immediate termination of the racist and unprofessional manager, Kim;
• A Boycott of the Golden Valley location;
• A public apology from the Benihana Corporation;
• Anti- Racism training for the staff, with a focus on unlearning anti-blackness;
• A corporate wide policy against calling the police on African Americans and other communities of color; and
• Benihana Corporation to pay the Culinary Arts tuition of five African American students each
year, during the existence of the company.