PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — On Wednesday, protesters, including Portsmouth NAACP President James Boyd gathered in a crosswalk at the entrance of Chick-fil-A off Fredrick Boulevard.
That was the second day of protests at the business after the mother of two former employees spoke up about what they say they experienced.
Dashawn Gause says both her daughters had worked at that Chick-fil-A for more than five years, and held management positions under the old owner.
But, she says when the new owner, Hunter Caudill, took over in March, her black daughters were slowly replaced with white employees.
Gause says both of her daughters ultimately quit over the past few weeks because of the hostile work environment.
She took to Facebook about her daughters’ experiences and the post went viral.
She says after her post, several other employees came forward with similar experiences they deemed discriminatory.
“If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. This could be your child, your grandchild, your family member, you know, fair is fair. We don’t want somebody to come in the community and destroy the self-esteem of these young children who are out here trying to work and trying to do something for themselves,” said Gause.
Boyd says the NAACP decided to protest to turn customers away after trying to contact the owner three times. He says the business closed early multiple days.
“I think now, in this moment, we need extreme measures. We are sick and tired of black people being shot by the police gun and we’re sick and tired economically of suffering too. You can’t do business in the city if you’re not going to support black employees,” said Boyd.
10 On Your Side tried contacting the owner and the corporate office Wednesday and Thursday without luck.
On Friday, we received this statement from corporate on behalf of the owner, Caudill.
“I want to provide an update regarding recent events at my restaurant. I take accusations of discrimination and racial injustice very seriously. That is why I reached out to several leaders in the community, including the protest organizers, the NAACP and local pastors to better understand the issues at hand. We had a healthy meeting Wednesday night, and I learned a lot. I’m committed to continuing our conversation and am grateful for those who participated in the discussion,” said Caudill.
In a press release on Thursday, the Portsmouth NAACP said Chick-fil-A Corporate has developed a team of black executives that they will work with on this issue.
In addition, they have immediate follow-up meetings with corporate to continue to make demands until they’re satisfied with conditions.
Boyd says they are suspending their protests but are still encouraging community members not to spend money there until they can ensure conditions are fair.
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