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Cubans Rally In Kentucky To Support Restaurant Owner Who Called BLM Activists’ Demands ‘Mafia Tactics’

Cubans Rally In Kentucky To Support Restaurant Owner Who Called BLM Activists’ Demands ‘Mafia Tactics’
Pedestrians cross a street in the East Market District (also referred to as NuLu neighborhood) in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

On Sunday, over 100 members of Louisville’s Cuban community gathered at a  a restaurant to support the owner, who emigrated from Cuba, after he had reacted to a letter from Black Lives Matter activists with a series of demands by calling the letter “mafia tactics.”
Fernando Martinez, the owner of La Bodeguita de Mima, who risked his life by emigrating to the United States on a raft when he was 18 years old, stated, “La Bodeguita is open to everybody. If you’re gay, this is your home. If you’re Black, this is your home. If you’re white, this is your home. If you’re human, this is your home … How can I be called a bigot and a racist when my family is Black? When my son is gay? I’m the proud father of a gay son, and I’m gonna fight for him against anybody.”
“During a speech that was interrupted several times by roaring applause and honking car horns, Martinez told his story,” The Courier-Journal reported. Matinez asserted, “It’s sad that we have to justify who we are as people. We need to come together as a community. We’re not an enemy of the Black community. We’re all people and we come in all colors.”
“Some people sat on the steps of La Bodeguita de Mima and held signs that said, ‘We left Cuba because of socialism. Be careful what you wish for’ and ‘Justice 4 all,’” The Courier-Journal added.
The Courier-Journal had already reported that a press release asserted that on July 24, when La Bodeguita de Mima was forced to close during a demonstration, several protesters gave Martinez the list of demands and told him he “better put the letter on the door so your business is not f***ed with.”
Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, stated over the weekend that she would no longer patronize Martinez’s two restaurants, El Taco Luchador and La Bodeguita De Mima. She wrote:
Rather than respond to demands tendered, even in the negative, and affirm that he is aware of the pain our people are in, instead he chooses to highlight what he believes is his superiority. I’m not sure why any human, other than a racist, would choose this time to tell us how little our lives matter.
Luis David Fuentes with El Kentubano, a publication for the Latin community of Kentucky, stated, “We had to escape the socialist government that took away our grandparents’ private businesses in 1959 and continue to restrict our civil and political rights today,” adding that  freedom, respect and prosperity,” are under attack “because of the diffusion and expansion of Marxist ideas.”
“Local ABC News affiliate WHAS11 News reported that ‘Black Lives Matter protesters’ were the ones who gave the letters out to businesses,” The Daily Wire noted.
local reporter posted the following five “repercussions of non-compliance” that were reportedly included in the letter:
  • Reduction in Racial Index Score/bias report to the Better Business Bureau.
  • Social Media Blast: Notification, via all social media platforms, of non-compliance.
  • Boycott: Public boycott, coordinated through social media and mail announcements, of your NuLu establishment AND any other business ventures owned by you.
  • Protest: Visible, media-covered demonstration/sit-in outside your establishment.
  • Invasive Reclamation: Placement of booths/tables outside your establishment where competing Black proprietors will offer items comparable to those offered by you.As The Daily Wire reported, the list of demands stated:
    The residents of Louisville, Kentucky are standing strong, educated, and together to express the destruction your business has caused to low-income communities, specifically those with majority black residents. We therefore demand representation and reparations in the NuLu business district of Louisville for the gentrification that has taken place. The policies and processes of the revitalization on NuLu has displaced marginalized people from homes their families have often resided for generations, single-handedly progressing the gentrification of black neighborhoods.
    The letter then listed eight “demands,” which included:
    1. Businesses will adequately represent the black population of Louisville by having a minimum of 23% black staff (including management) in front of house positions, and maintain commitment and accountability to increasing that number (accountability roundtable information below).
    2. Retail locations will include a minimum of 23% inventory of black retailers OR make a recurring monthly donation of 1.5% of net sales to black local organizations.
    3. Business owners will require diversity, equity, & inclusion training for their staffs, to be conducted by any one of the black women leaders on the attached list. Training will be conducted thereafter on a bi-annual basis.
    4. Customize your own OR display one of the attached written statements in a viable location within your business to increase awareness and show support for the reparations movement.
    5. Non-profits in NuLu district will submit to a voluntary, external audit of their board of trustees and take necessary steps towards 23% representation on those boards.
    6. Business owners & non-profit leaders will participate in quarterly roundtable discussions to be held accountable for their communities to these demands, and work together towards increased equity.
    7. Maintain adequate black representation in any entertainment and performances booked at your business.
    8. Dress code policies inherently discriminate against black folks, women, and the transgender community. You must eliminate dress code policies that promote profiling towards patrons and employees, including their hair requirements or stipulations, which can disproportionately target black folks.
    9. 23% black representation on the board of the NuLu Business Association.

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