In a twist on sit-in-style protests, civil rights activists entered several restaurants in New York City and Oakland, Calif., on Sunday in what organizers billed as “Black Brunch.”
About three dozen people participated in demonstrations in New York, where they momentarily “disrupted” meals at popular midtown eateries, including Lallisse, Maialino and Pershing Square — places protesters identified as predominantly “white spaces.”
At each stop, demonstrators read the names of African-Americans killed by police.
“Every 28 hours, a black person in America is killed by the police,” the protesters said. “These are our brothers and sisters. Today and every day, we honor their lives.”
There were no immediate reports of arrests, and the protests were said to be largely peaceful — though there were reports of verbal clashes with brunchgoers and waitstaff.
The manager at Resto NYC tried to literally push one of our comrades in order to push us out. We did not move.— jovitasmagnolia (@JovaLynne) January 4, 2015
Others appeared to show solidarity with the demonstrators.
The brunch demonstrations originated in Oakland late last year during nationwide protests triggered by the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island.
On Saturday in Berkeley, Calif., demonstrators participated in a “black brunch” protest that wasn’t limited to restaurants.
While many applauded the nonviolent tactic on Twitter, where #BlackBrunch was trending in the U.S. on Sunday, others mocked it.
#BlackBrunch might have worked better if it wasn't in January. A lot of white people are dieting right now and just had quinoa at home.— Yale Cohn (@YaleCohn) January 4, 2015