A girls night out turned into an evening of racial discrimination at Brig, a bar in Fresno, California. The two women sharing what they experienced earlier this month at the bar are Abre’ Conner and Novella Coleman. Both Conner and Coleman are attorneys for the ACLU Northern California Chapter and say they will not allow their story to go unheard
@MsAConner, when bartender waitress & manager @ the Brig in #Fresno try 2 enforce a min drink rule on black ppl only pic.twitter.com/sGzvOh00Xw — Novella Coleman (@ACLU_Novella) March 13, 2016 '' The ladies, including a third friend that was not identified, were preparing to take the stage for their karaoke rendition of "Waterfalls" by TLC when a bartender approached them and informed them they would have to purchase drinks if they wanted to stay in the establishment. The party of three told the employee that two of them had bought drinks, but another member of the bar's staff aggressively made his way over to them to and shouted, "Buy drinks!" The situation escalated when the shouting staff member pushed himself against Conner, who is petite compared to his described make up, and she repeatedly yelled back "don't touch me" as he attempted to force her out of the bar
An off-duty worker spoke to the women in an effort to calm the situation, as the women pleaded their case and expressed they felt racially targeted. The employee told them the rule was business related and tried to persuade them to leave. Again, the women stated they felt they were being discriminated against because there were other patrons who did not have drinks, but they were not black. At that point the server yelled at them like the others had done previously and told them, “It’s not fair for you to bring up race!” The police were called by the bar personnel and the women were eventually escorted out by the officers who responded to the call
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1 day we'll have equality & not 👮👮 escorting us out bc racists don't want us there @SalcedaAngelica @ACLU_Novella pic.twitter.com/tP3SS0PYnJ — Abre' Conner (@MsAConner) March 13, 2016 '' The Brig's manager Heidi Wilson told the Huffington Post that the women's claim is untrue and they were told to leave because they were loitering. Wilson also added that the police was on the side of the bar and she made sure to include that the bar "[has] so much different culture in [t]here, and [they] absolutely love it." Regardless of the manager's response, Conner and Coleman say they continue sharing their story to remind people that we do not live in the post-racial utopia many precede us to live within. At this time the ACLU are investigating and are looking for how to proceed in terms of legal actions