@soulphoodie So, the guy whos @gourmonade lemonade stand in San Francisco had a little small-businessing-while-black moment with the SFPD is Vicktor Stevenson. I went and met hin today, he's SUPER hella cool and his #Lemonade is 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/9AvP4b3qOP
— slobeck (@Sl0beck) July 22, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — This Black businessman recently realized one of his financial dreams come-to-life, only to first-hand experience a nightmare plaguing our community.
His name is Vicktor Stevenson.
According to Raw Story, Stevenson just opened Gourmonade, a premium gourmet lemonade stand in the Bay Area, specifically on Valencia Street in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Apparently, there are certain hardships when trying to open a Black business in gentrified neighborhoods like this.
Stevenson says, even before his grand opening, racists had spray-painted graffiti on his storefront — some also read “monkey juice.” But little did he know, things were just getting started.
‘I’M STANDING HERE AT MY STORE’…
Reportedly, after his grand opening, the drama amplified. Just three days after his start, four cops showed up. The businessman recalls as follows.
“I’m standing here at my store, trying to make sure my security system is up and running properly, and next thing I know, four cops hop out of cars on me.”
According to Stevenson, authorities told him someone in the neighborhood had called and told them he was breaking into the business.
Stevenson says he didn’t see the other cops behind him — possibly because he didn’t want to make any sudden moves, since the one in front of Stevenson was reportedly talking with one hand on his gun.
The businessman told CNN as follows.
“I was reluctant to give them my ID. I didn’t want to give them my ID and I just obliged after a while because I’ve seen what’s been going on every single day out here and I didn’t want to become a statistic. So I just gave them my ID and they ran it.”
“The officer said, ‘Can you prove that it’s your business?’,” Stevenson explains. “And, I said, ‘Absolutely.’ Like, I have the key, and I opened and closed the doors.”
The source says SFPD Mission Station is less than three blocks away from Stevenson’s stand, on the same street.
Gourmonade owner Vicktor Stevenson told CNN that the police officers were not rude and were doing their job but that the experience left him feeling vulnerable and disrespected.
— Cruz Cerda III, Ph.D. (@cruzcerda3) July 24, 2018
While talking with AJ Plus, the businessman described the nerve-wrecking encounter and was “visibly shaken,” says Raw Story.
“My son is 9-months old and he knew something was wrong with daddy, and he would not let me go! He would not let me go all night.”
He said his wife had nightmares that night. He states that she cried in her dreams — screaming, “No, no, no!”
“I grabbed her and kissed her on her forehead with my baby between us,” the man tells the source. “And I told her, ‘It’s okay.’ And ‘It’s alright. I’m here.'”
Stevenson adds that such discrimination isn’t anything new for him. However, it IS new for him as a father and husband.
“I don’t think my family or any other family should have to go through this for no reason.”
This is what it's like for a black business owner in a gentrifying SF neighborhood: Racist graffiti and calls to the police for unlocking your own store. pic.twitter.com/F9lVsIaKM7
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 20, 2018
CALL FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
The source reports that, via Facebook, Stevenson urged accountability for those who haphazardly call police on people of color for everyday living.
“People die because of this kinda misuse of police resources and racial profiling everyday,” the businessman mentioned to his friends and followers.
And he’s absolutely right. Yet, the thing is: those who rush to call police for these nonsensical reasons ALREADY KNOW Blacks have died from simple police calls and non-threatening traffic stops.
They already know police are trigger-happy. And you can probably bet your last dollar, their calls have a particularly violent intention as their hopeful result.
“I’m just blessed to be alive to tell my story and hopefully can help spark some major changes in how these situations are handled,” Stevenson mentions. “It’s a criminal act and should be treated as such.”
All in all, let us know your thoughts about this situation. If you have any comments, feel free to share them via our Facebook page.
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[Featured Photo via Twitter]