The Black Institute is currently campaigning to highlight the injustices facing black and brown businesses. We started with Woodland, a popular brunch spot in downtown Brooklyn with a majority black and brown clientele.
As we advocated to #SaveBlackBrunch through petitioning and outreach to patrons, we noticed a pattern. People would say “This is the same thing that happened to my favorite place uptown!” or reference another predominantly black restaurant or club.
We began to research and compile data to find the statistics. The culmination of our work resulted in “Cabaret 2.0: It’s The Same Old Song and Dance,” a report that analyzes the demographics of neighborhoods where M.A.R.C.H. raids have taken place. M.A.R.C.H. raids are a “Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots.” They are initiated at the local precinct level and involve the NYPD, Department of Buildings, Fire Department, Department of Health, Department of Environmental Protections, and the State Liquor Authority.
These agencies join forces to perform a “SWAT-like” raids on unsuspecting businesses. Many of these raids result in no violations, but when they do they can result in fines of up to $40,000. This act of raiding business owners in predominantly black and brown communities is reminiscent of stop-and-frisk policies. It is a violating process, it is unfair, and we are fighting back.
The Black Institute is working with business owners to collect stories of these raids to record and publicize the adverse affects of raids and related agency actions. It’s time to #SaveBlackBrunch, #SaveBlackNightlife, and SAVE BLACK BUSINESSES!