In a sort of sit-in for the 21st century, protestors in New York City and Oakland, Calif., took to a handful of popular brunch spots yesterday to protest police brutality against Black people.
The New York Post reports that the grassroots Black Brunch movement drew dozens of protestors to various eating establishments on both coasts. The demonstrators invaded restaurants on Sunday morning, raising their fists in a “Black Power” pose as they read off the names of Black people who were killed by police officers.
“Every 28 hours, a Black person in American is killed by police,” the demonstrators said upon entering a restaurant. “These are our brothers and sisters. Today and every day, we honor their lives.”
Carrie Leilam Love, one of the organizers of Black Brunch NYC, told The Washington Post that the group wanted to bring awareness to those who are blissfully unaffected by police brutality, which is why they chose to invade brunch: “White spaces.”
“People who have money and privilege have the leisure to brunch. Other people don’t,” Love said. “It is an inconvenience to us to be shot in the street. We respectfully demand that people take five minutes of their time to look at what life is like for us every day.”
The original Black Brunch was held in Oakland late last year. One of its organizers, Wazi Maret Davis, said that the event was founded to help honor Black lives lost.
“We are here to carry the weight of our pain to communities and people who otherwise never have to think about it,” Davis said in a statement to ESSENCE.com. “We are here to honor those who have come and gone before us because of police violence. We are here to disrupt your regularly scheduled business and your brunch to awaken you to the realities of our nation.”
Though some diners were visibly upset that their brunch was interrupted, others eagerly joined the protestors, rising from their tables to raise a fist.
“I think it’s beautiful,” said Oakland restaurant owner Katherine Pinson to the Post. “It’s a message that needs to be heard, and if they have to disrupt business and daily life for a minute, then I’m glad we could help.”