Rashon Nelson was one of two black men who was arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks. The incident was captured on video and led to public outrage and protests due to neither man in the video appearing to do anything wrong. Nelson was in the Starbucks with his business partner as they waited for a friend. It was at that time that the store manager called the police and had the men arrested for “trespassing.”
The video later surfaced on social media and went viral.
After the video went viral, there were immediate calls for the manager of the Starbucks to be fired — he has since left the location — and the hashtag #boycottstarbucks began trending on social media.
Here is everything you need to know about the matter.
Nelson and his business partner were waiting to meet with Alan Yaffe, a colleague who had set up the meeting. After the manager of the Starbucks noticed Nelson and his partner waiting in the coffee shop without placing an order, he made the decision to call the police. That is when Yaffe appeared and began questioning police officers about their decision to make an arrest for trespassing.
“Why would they be asked to leave?” Yaffe can be heard asking in the video. “I wanted to get coffee for two Black guys sitting and meeting with me. Does anybody else think this is ridiculous?”
“It’s absolute discrimination.”
The manager of the location, Holly Hylton, “mutually parted ways” with the store after being on the job for a year. She claims that a corporate policy against loitering in Starbucks locations was to be inforced when she made the decision to call the police.
Who is Rashon Nelson?
Rashon Nelson, Brother of the Alpha Eta Chapter Of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity inc. was removed from Starbucks for no reason by police while waiting for friend. We stand with you! #BoycottStarbucks pic.twitter.com/kHcgOu8kTP
— TEXAS GREEK PICNIC™ (@TXGreekPicnic) April 17, 2018
Nelson was a student at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania where he majored in finance from 2013-2017. When the video went viral, Nelson received instant support from his fraternity brothers in the Alpha Eta chapter of Omega Psi Phi. Following the incident, Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson reached out to Nelson in an effort to make things right.
Johnson released a lengthy statement on the Starbucks website:
First, to once again express our deepest apologies to the two men who were arrested with a goal of doing whatever we can to make things right. Second, to let you know of our plans to investigate the pertinent facts and make any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again. And third, to reassure you that Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling.
Response From Omega Psi Phi
After news of the arrests went viral, the Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Antonio F. Knox, Sr., took to social media to share a statement expressing their support for Nelson and expressing his thanks for those who have shown their own support during the arrest.
— Omega Psi Phi (@OfficialOPPF) April 16, 2018
Giving Honor to God and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The times that we are living in continue to unveil the bold and dark side of racism through the lens of ready cameras of witnesses that record the injustices that are reported daily. The latest incident on the news around the world touched our Omega family as one of the young en arrested at the Starbucks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is an Omega Man and remarkable example of resilient courage in the face of undeserved fire. I thank God for his sense of presence and calm because the encounter with police officers could have been very different. While we won’t yet releases names, please know that this Basileus and Chapter Brothers have been in touch. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” Brothers, I say to you fifty-five years later that now is the Time! This was very clearly racial injustice but maybe this case will be the catalyst to create the positive change that we seek. When people of all diversities, ethnicities and cultures stand to speak out, the world takes notice. There were others in Starbucks that boldly stood up to speak against the actions taken by police and management. The CEO of Starbucks has made a public apology and I applaud his sincerity but the change within his company must include the training of management and employees on the correct procedures to embrace and understand diversity and continuously act accordingly. This will determine if Starbucks gets this right.
My Brothers, let’s continue to lift as we climb to show this world how good it will be when we all turn to the solid rock of brotherhood and mankind! WE ARE ONE!