SeaStrawsCo client grown is a Miami-based restaurant offering organic and health-centric fast food. Shannon Allen, the restaurant’s owner, mother of five, and wife of two-time NBA champion Ray Allen, shared with us a message on standing as allies to fight discrimination, denounce white supremacy, and demand justice for police brutality against the Black community. Her message is below.
"Sure, we miss basketball.
But, our focus as a family right now is our commitment to staying safe and healthy with respect to covid and most importantly, addressing the threat to the Black community and all of humanity in the name of systemic racism, police brutality and prejudice.
I can tell you without reservation that Black people and people of color live in constant fear of police brutality, potential violence and racial discrimination.
It’s how it has always been in this country since the first ships carrying enslaved people landed in Jamestown in 1619.
And though I cannot speak for the entire Black community, I can speak from my own personal experience as a Black woman, a wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter and yes, as the owner/operator of a Black owned business.
Small things that hurt, like bigots snapping at my children at a pool “this isn’t a community pool”, “you don’t belong here” “don’t swim next to me!” or big things that cause you to shrink and become smaller, like death threats, being called the “N word”, being profiled by the police or being chased by a pickup truck filled with racists.
These are just a few of my own personal experiences. Yes. (All of them). And these are nothing compared to the experiences of my mother, uncles, family members or business partner. It’s all consuming and it’s all the time.
I think America is finally waking up to the fact that we must be collectively more outraged at the cold blooded murder of Black bodies than the burning of buildings.
But, it’s just not happening fast enough.
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, McHale Rose, Rayshard Brooks- these aren’t hashtags. These are names of people. People that were loved members of their families- contributors to their communities. Human beings that deserved to live. To thrive.
And now they’re gone.
And these are just a few names of Black people that were tragically and murdered in the past few weeks - erased from the planet.
I hold my breath every time my husband leaves the house, praying for his safe return.
I hold my breath when my sons ask to go to a friends house or to a school dance, hoping to God they return to me in one piece.
I hold my breath whenever I’ve been pulled over by the police for a wrong signal or inching over the speed limit, silently praying that I won’t be victimized by officers- abused or raped and left for dead in a ditch.
I am always prepared to defend my children From a salespersons watchful, accusatory eye- or an overzealous school parent that doesn’t want their child paying with mine.
We are terrorized.
We are viewed as criminals, our very presence makes people feel “unsafe” “threatened”.
And, this, is our daily reality.
It’s been 400 years of holding our breath, and we still can’t breathe.
We need reinforcements.
We need allies.
We need change.
When I see the faces of the protestors it does give me hope- people of every age, color, faith and denomination joined in the pursuit of justice, equality and equity.
It’s a start.
I encourage people to step up, pull-up and show support for the Black community. I encourage people to petition, to protest, to donate, to use their platforms, resources and network to mobilize the vote.
In truth, it’s exhausting.
It’s got to stop.
We welcome the reinforcements."
We feel extraordinarily grateful that Shannon shared this message with us. Recurrent is a platform built to elevate the voices of everyone in our sustainable hospitality community, and Shannon and her team at grown are role models for us all.
If you would like to read more about Shannon and grown, click here to read our other blog post about how Grown is working through the COVID-19 crisis.
This article first appeared in our Recurrent email newsletter on June 24, 2020. To subscribe to Recurrent and receive a story from our sustainable hospitality community every Wednesday, click here.