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THE GREENSBORO TIMES NNEWS Black Barbers Demand Investiga OTES

by Chris Levister Special to the NNPA from

MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (NNPA) - Making a point of the historical importance of the barbershop and beauty parlor in Black communities, a group of barbers, church leaders and community activists across the Inland region and the nation has demanded a federal investigation into the raids targeting six mostly Black-owned Moreno Valley business establishments early this month.

#BlackGirlsSwimFast: On Simone Manuel and Swimming to Freedom

''We are demanding an immediate Justice Department full probe,'' said Kevon Gordon, owner of The Hair Shack since 1984.

Gordon and other barbers allege that the raids violated their 4th Amendment right of ''probable cause'', undermined their businesses, tar- geted them based on race and threatened to fracture the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology's reputation as a career builder.

Barbers and patrons involved in the raids say a strike team of California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)/Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) inspectors, city code compliance inspectors and offi- cers from the Moreno Valley Police Department/Riverside County Sheriff burst into their establishments without search warrants under the guise of a BBC-led crackdown on business license and health and safety violators.

According to BBC officials Moreno Valley police initiated the raids ''apparently to shut down drug operations''. BY DAVID J. LEONARD

At presstime DCA officials and Moreno Valley city leaders had not responded to formal requests for reaction to the barbers' demands.

Simone Manuel—like members of the U.S. Olympic women’s bas-

''My phone has been ringing off the hook. People are outraged,'' said Gordon. He told the Black Voice News barbers targeted in the raids have been further humiliated by a police and city hall information blackout.

ketball team, like Wyomia Tyus and Serena Williams—is not only domi- nating on the playing field but also saying, “Black lives matter” outside the arena.

''When we called police and code compliance asking for an incident report - we were told ‘there isn't one'.'' Gordon said despite multiple requests for information from the three agencies, he and other barbers targeted in the raids have been ''systematically denied.''


Adding insult to injury Gordon says several customers have expressed concern over bringing their loved ones to his shop. ''My reputation and livelihood of 24 years has been damaged. Collectively we intend to fight back.''


Gordon said the Hair Shack located in a strip mall along busy Sunnymead Boulevard has no prior history of police trouble.

''Incidents like this are not going to be tolerated anymore, and we're going to speak out. This was an attack not just on African-Americans, but all ethnic business establishments.''

Weekly: June 13 - Aug. 26* Monday - Friday, 7am - 6pm


The barbers stopped short of publicizing their demands saving the details for an upcoming news conference. Gordon confirmed he has contacted civil rights and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorneys.

*Subject to change based on public school make-up days.

Gordon and barber Ron Jones were cited for what BBC inspectors call 11 ‘cleaniness' (towel drawers, comb, supply cabinets not labeled) violations plus a $1,500 fine. The operation which included Hair Sculptures a beau- ty salon co-owned by Jackie Brazeau, a Latino, netted 2 arrests, 49 health and safety citations and failure to show an independent contractor's busi- ness license, violations and $20,000 in BBC and code compliance fines.

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Barbers from fifteen Black owned area business establishments plan to meet at an undisclosed location to develop strategies they say will more than likely involve legal action, boycotts, and formal complaints to the Department of Justice, NAACP and ACLU. HAYES-TAYLOR Y REIDSVILLE Y CAMP WEAVER ''It was a smack in the face that something like this could happen in RAGSDALE Y SPEARS Y

Still Gordon who says his business has suffered fina admits the controversy has a silver lining, ''It go brought us together. That's good.''

Pastor Lacy Sykes of CrossWord Christian Church

''I actually go to Hair Shack Barbershop. Ron Jon church and it was inappropriate from the standpoin was a raid on minority barbershops.

''I know they (police) have challenges in Moreno Va doing the best they can do, but it does not circum obtaining the proper search warrants. Minority around a long time in Moreno Valley and are doing community and deserve their respect.''

> page

Moreno Valley barber Kevon Gordo undermined his business of 24 ye barbers and visciously attacked one nities most sacred bastions: the bar

nals, Mark Anthony Neal tweeted #BlackGirlsSwimFast to celebrate the magnificence of Lia Neal, Simone Manuel and Natalie Hinds. On Thursday night at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, it took 52

Following their 1-2-3 finish in the 2015 NCAA 100 swimming fi- mess threatens to rock the entire industry,'' he says

seconds for Manuel to swim the fastest. And when she touched first in a tie, claiming an Olympic gold medal along with Canada’s Penny Olek- siak in the 100-meter swimming finals, she claimed victory not only for herself but for an entire community. “This medal is not just for me,” a tearful Manuel noted. “It is for

''From Moreno Valley police office Councils to ‘Lil Stevie Wonder and Berry Gordy, I've left my mark on

The Butlers whose business was not raided, displa ity by taping a copy of the Black Voice News paper raids on the shops' front window.

some of the African Americans who have come before me. This medal is for the people who come behind me and get into the sport and hopefully find love and drive to get to this point.” The significance of Simone Manuel’s victory rests not just with yet another swimming gold for the United States or another mark in the over- all medal tally. Its importance even transcends the fact that she became the first—yes, in 2016—African-American female swimmer to win an individual Olympic medal. Her joy and the importance of her victory cannot be understood

outside of America’s bloodstained Jim Crow archives. Manuel’s merely standing on the blocks and jumping into the water was a challenge in and of itself to “America’s most racist institution”: the swimming pool. And

as she physically made history in Rio, she symbolically swam upstream against the long-standing history of exclusion and violence in America’s “contested waters.”

Simone Manuel > page 13

''We want our patrons to know the culture of our po back and allow anyone to run up in our shops wit asking customers if they have warrants. We're go doesn't happen again,'' said Fay Butler.

Former patron James Wright, a Los Angeles pastor, bershop, it's not one place, it's not one time, this k is taking place in minority communities across the now is, we're speaking out.''

Word of the raids spread like wildfire throughout nation barbers activists and bloggers engaged in Gordon said barbers, law enforcement, church lea neys and patrons in San Bernardino, Riverside, Diego counties have called with offers of assistanc

''As customers we have a duty to speak out again come to get my hair cut I have a right to be respe warrant check on me without probable cause, the ne be to a civil rights attorney,'' said barber Harold Par Reginald Richard.

''Moreno Valley today Atlanta tomorrow,'' said An barber college graduate. He pointed to fresh text m in Atlanta and Chicago who learned about the raids ''Brothers, what the hell is going on out there? We'

Moreno Valley contracts police service from t Sheriffs Department. Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Den Black Voice News request for a statement on the ra demand for an investigation had been passed on th for review.

''This kind of affront sends up a red flag to young have worked hard to stay away from gangs and dr mate practices. It sends the wrong message.''



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