One of the men featured in the video showing police arresting two Black men for sitting in Starbucks is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
Rashon Nelson, shown above, is a member of the Alpha Eta chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity and attended Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania as a finance major from 2013-2017.
This morning, the Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Antonio F. Knox, Sr. released the following statement:
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!
Starbucks CEO responds
The CEO of Starbucks Kevin Johnson is on the ground in the City of Brotherly Love after two Black men were locked up by Philadelphia police for simply sitting in the coffeehouse while waiting for a friend.
A viral video that shows the unnamed men being handcuffed and ushered out of Starbucks started a firestorm on social media, with many questioning why an employee called the cops on the men for doing something so many white people do daily.
CEO Kevin Johnson appeared on Good Morning America and did not mince words about what happened.
“First of all, I’ll say the circumstances surrounding the incident and outcome in our store on Thursday were reprehensible and wrong, and for that I personally apologize to the two gentleman who visited our store,” he told anchor Robin Roberts.
He said that different regions where Starbucks stores operate implement different guidelines for when to call police, and that’s part of what led to this case. He maintained that it was still “completely inappropriate” to get police involved.
“If there were threats or a disturbance, those might be appropriate times. In this case, none of that occurred. It was completely inappropriate to engage police,” he said. “What happened to those two gentleman was wrong.”
The fiery backlash on social media was swift with people calling for the popular coffee chain to address this incident using the hashtag #boycottstarbucks and demands that the Starbucks manager who called the police be fired immediately.
According to Philly.com, the manager in question has left the company in what a company spokeswoman called a “mutual” decision.