NEW YORK - After initiating a petition and outreach campaign to the owner of Continental Bar, which has been the subject of frequent allegations of racism, the ANSWER Coalition in New York City is holding a second picket in front of the bar on Saturday, January 29th from 8-10 p.m. The first picket was held on Friday, December 10, 2010.
A press conference will be held on Monday, January 24 at 6 p.m. in front of Continental Bar (25 Third Avenue). Activists will join Shaniqua Pippen and others who have been turned away from the bar due to its discriminatory door policy.
In June 2010, a young African American woman Shaniqua Pippen and her friends headed to Continental Bar for an evening of fun. When she got there, she was turned away. “Your people don’t know how to act,” she was told.
In August 2010, a young gay man was turned away at the door also. “We’re not serving your kind tonight,” he was told.
The owner of Continental explained himself in an interview to reporter Meredith Hoffman of the Local East Village, by stating, “I’m not going to be politically correct and just let anybody in. I look at things in the long run.” He continued by stating that many patrons were turned away for not adhering to an unwritten dress code and admitted, “It just so happens that more people of a certain minority wear these things than others.”
The ANSWER Coalition has collected testimony from more than 30 people who claim to have been met with racism or bigotry at the Continental Bar. When the Continental managers were asked by ANSWER Coalition organizers to address these complaints, they refused. Now the New York City Commission on Human Rights is investigating the charges.
“When I realized that I was being discriminated against, I felt powerless,” said Tanisha Convington, an African American woman who was recently turned away at the doors of Continental along with several of her friends. “There was nothing I could do or say when everyone else was getting in, laughing, and being happy while we were standing at the side. I felt less human.”
Convington and Pippen are now building a campaign to pressure the management of Continental Bar to meet with them and change their discriminatory door policy.
“This is a struggle against intolerance, to defend civil rights! What they are doing is not fair. When they do that to other people they are adding to the negativity in the world and hurting people, and they should understand that,” said Pippen.