A chain of American coffee shops apologized Wednesday for a sign on the sidewalk, which showed a message that seemed to celebrate the gentrification of a historically black neighborhood.
The sandwich board said: "Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014." On the other hand, he declared: "Nothing says that gentrification is like being able to order a Cut."
Users of social networks reacted with indignation to the advertising ink of the board! Coffee located in Denver, Colorado. The store in question is located in the Five Points neighborhood, which was once known as the "Harlem of the West" and has traditionally been home to artists and people of color. The neighborhod has been constantly evolving and is becoming white and upper-middle class, due to gentrification.
There have been numerous calls for customers to boycott the store and the company, which has 16 stores in the capital and Aspen.
The founder of the ink! Coffee then issued the following statement on Wednesday apologizing for the sign:
"I've been following comments on social media and listening to our customers, and I want you to know that I heard it." I've used the last 24 hours to listen to their I am ashamed to say that I did not fully appreciate the very real and problematic problem of gentrification, and I sincerely apologize to those who understand first-hand the difficulties and cultural consequences that gentrification has caused. in the Five Points neighborhood, throughout the city and county of Denver and in communities throughout our state. "
Read the full statement here .
"My first reaction was:" Is this real? Because it's so amazing, "said Ru Johnson, a local writer at the Denver Post. .
"His sign was almost like a blow to the eye for people who have worked to make the community what it is, and many of those people have been expelled," Johnson said. "Whoever created this sign, sent it to make it and place it outside your business? "
Hundreds of users rushed to criticize and express their outrage at the ink! Coffee on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp.
"It does not even deserve a star," wrote a critic on Yelp, according to Fox News. "They are proud of their blatant racism and contempt for the local community."
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also severely criticized the ink! Coffee.
"His signal mentioned above has been pointed out as mocking and hurtful to those, especially African-Americans and others (People of Color), who have been forced to turn over their homes and businesses to great gentrification efforts at the Denver plant / Downtown communities, "Rosemary Lytle, president of the NAACP State Conference in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, wrote in an email obtained by the Denver Post.
In a series of emails, tweets and Facebook posts on Wednesday afternoon, the company apologized for the sign.
"We clearly drank too much of our own product and lost sight of what makes our community great," the company said on its official Twitter account. "Our (bad) joke was never intended to offend our vibrant and diverse community."