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Civil Rights Activists and Organizations Issue a National Advisory to Exercise Caution After High Profile Incidents Of Discriminatory Treatment at Waffle Houses


June 12, 2018 (New York, NY)–A number of organizations, including Women’s March, National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), 100 Black Men, and Civil Rights leaders are advising black people and LGBTQIA+/same gender loving (SGL) people to avoid Waffle House restaurants following a string of incidents of racial and homophobic bias and discrimination. Although the incidents occurred in different states, the corporation has responded by validating the use of excessive police force against black patrons of its restaurants. The individuals harmed, both of whom had nonviolent disputes with staff, were brutalized by officers arriving at the scene and face charges for the assaults against their own bodies. Their families, attorneys and activists across the nation are united in calls for the charges to be dropped.

On April 22, 2018, Chikesia Clemons, a 25-year-old Black woman, was assaulted by police inside a Waffle House in Saraland, Alabama. She and her friends asked a Waffle House staffer for plastic cutlery for which the staffer attempted to charge her $0.50. After a nonviolent dispute ensued over this charge, Ms. Clemons requested the Waffle House corporate contact information and instead police were called to the scene. Officers immediately slammed Ms. Clemons onto a chair and then to the floor, exposing her breasts. They then groped her all over her body, choked her and threatened to break her arm. Video footage of the incident drew national outrage due to the excessive use of force and the disregard of her dignity. Immediately following the incident, Waffle House corporate headquarters released a statement in support of the Saraland Police Department, which filed criminal charges against Ms. Clemons.  

Three weeks later, in Warsaw, North Carolina, 22-year old Anthony Wall asked an employee to wipe down a recently vacated table and was called a homophobic slur. This prompted an exchange, during which another employee hit the panic button, alerting police. Mr. Wall, who was at the Waffle House with his younger sister following her high school prom, was brutally arrested by an officer, which was caught on video. The video shows the officer pinning him by the throat against a wall, then slamming him to the concrete pavement. Like Ms. Clemons, Mr. Wall has been charged by the Warsaw police for resisting arrest despite video evidence that clearly shows he was victimized by an officer many times his size.

Tamika D. Mallory, national civil rights activist and Co-President of Women’s March, said, “As Black women and as mothers, we are tired of seeing our sons and daughters being brutalized and assaulted. We know the conduct we saw on the video happens often, and cameras are not always there. Having charges filed against Chikesia and against Anthony is victim blaming at its worst. We will stand with them until the charges are dropped and until Waffle House takes responsibility for its role in the abuse of these two young people.”

"Minority populations are routinely facing discrimination in our society, and this reality is compounded when one has several intersecting minority identities like being Black and LGBTQ/SGL; however, we do not have to — and will not —  support any business, Waffle House included, as long as the organization and its leadership continues to show a lack of respect for the basic civil rights of all human beings," said David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition. "Dropping the charges against Ms. Clemons and Mr. Wall is a mandatory first step to right these wrongs. And beyond that, before we even consider returning our Black dollars to Waffle House or any other corporation that enables the egregious and discriminatory behavior to which far too many black and LGBTQ/SGL customers experience, it imperative that they invest in the necessary cultural competence training for their employees and implement policies and best practices for working with intersectional communities."

Brittany Packnett, activist and co-founder of Campaign Zero, added, “Oppression will continue as long as businesses care more about profit than people.  Since Waffle House’s repeated actions send the clear message that they don’t care about marginalized people, we will no longer provide them our profit.  Bigotry should never pay-and Waffle House should be an example to all corporations that our humanity will be respected.”



Women's March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists & organizers to engage in their local communities through trainings, outreach programs and events. Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. NBJC’s mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ/SGL bias and stigma. As America’s leading national Black LGBTQ/SGL civil rights organization focused on federal public policy, NBJC has accepted the charge to lead Black families in strengthening the bonds and bridging the gaps between the movements for racial justice and LGBTQ/SGL equality.

Campaign Zero is a campaign to reduce police violence through ten major policy solutions: ending broken windows policing, encouraging community oversight, limiting the use of force, independent investigation and prosecution, community representation, filming the police, training, ending for-profit policing, demilitarization, and fair police union contracts. Campaign Zero also releases research reports examining police behavior, contracts and policies. 

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.