Oregon state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D) is not happy about a recent incident that involved her 17-year-old daughter being asked to leave the premises of their local mall. The interaction has prompted the lawmaker to call for a “loiter-in” at the establishment.
“We were sitting in the car for no more than 20 minutes when a very authoritative mall cop circled around the car,” Christine Bynum told The Washington Post of the events that led up to her being asked to leave the Clackamas Town Center on Saturday.
The girls, who are Black, were initially there to see a movie at the theatre but changed plans when one of the young ladies realized she forgot her ID and wouldn’t be permitted into the rated R film. As the ladies were deciding on a Plan B in Christine’s car, authorities approached and told the teens they were loitering.
According to The Post, the interaction left Chrissy and friends confused. And after hearing about what transpired with her daughter, Janelle Bynum decided to take action.
“Go see how long it takes to be asked to leave the mall by mall security,” Bynum wrote on a Facebook event page titled Loiter-in for Chrissy. “Let’s figure out if there’s a difference between loitering or being the wrong color.”
Bynum is calling on people to go to the mall, “sit at the food court, sit in your car on the phone, hang out in the fountain area” and then report back on how long it takes before they are asked to leave. The lawmaker believes there is a clear difference in the way mall security is handling African-American patrons.
On her own Facebook, Bynum said the Clackamas Town Center manager emailed her Saturday requesting to speak with her and Christine about the incident. Bynum says she believes the manager is “gathering information from his team to referee the truth” with her daughter.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Bynum or someone in her family has been racially profiled. It’s why she sponsored a bill passed earlier this year that cracks down on racially motivated 911 calls in the state of Oregon. Now, victims of these calls can sue the caller for up to $250.
“When someone gets the police called on them for just existing in public, it sends a message that you don’t belong here,” Bynum told NBC News at the time of the bill’s passing. “This creates a legal pathway to justice for those of us who have to worry about getting the cops called on us for existing in public.”
The Loiter-In for Chrissy runs through September 28.