‘All of us can do something.’ Local black restaurant owners react to George Floyd protests | Peninsula Foodist | Elena Kadvany – Get a quote in 5 minutes

Lisa Spencer holds her breath when her youngest son, Myles, leaves her home in East Palo Alto. He is 15 years old now – not yet an adult, but old enough for his parents to sit down for a conversation about how to interact with police officers. "You have to behave better than other people," says Spencer to his son. "If a policeman comes to meet you, you can no longer be the person we raised you, that is, discussing the things you think are wrong or fighting for your rights. You must be suddenly docile. You can move your arms. You just have to sit down there and shut up so you can go home safely. Don't look for anything. Don't argue. "In America or any other country on this day and now, which is not something you should say to your black children," he said.
Lisa, Myles and Dulani Spencer in their home kitchen in East Palo Alto. Photo by Sinead Chang.Spencer runs Savor Seasoning Blends, a home-made tea and spice company, away from home with her son and husband. He continued to experience deep feelings of anger, disbelief and helplessness since the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Negro who was killed in police custody in Minnesota on May 25. His death sparked passionate protests nationally, including locally against police brutality and racism in America. In the interviews, the African Americans who run food companies on the peninsula expressed a mixture of dismay and hope, immediately heartened by the inertia that drives the protests and worried that this will not mark a turning point in the long history of violence in the United States. against blacks. Each of them condemned the looting and violence, worried that it might distract from the underlying message of peaceful protests. Claire Mack, 83, owns Claire's Crunch Cake in San Mateo. Before she started selling her cakes outside the home, she was a public employee for most of her life. In 1991, she became the first African American woman to be elected to the San Mateo city council and went on to become the city's first African American mayor. A plan for the construction of public housing in north-central San Mateo, where black people lived at the time, prompted her to apply for a job. He fought to preserve the neighborhood and work programs for local youth.
Claire Mack, the first African American mayor of San Mateo, runs a dessert business from her home. Photo courtesy of Claire & # 39; s Crunch Cake.Mack has lived in San Mateo for her entire life and has deep roots in the community. His mother, aunts and uncles went to school with the men who became the policemen of the city. He has served on numerous local councils, commissions and organizations and has won community service awards. Her youngest daughter is an Air Force colonel, following in the footsteps of many family members who served in the army. "I served my city as mayor three times. I believe in this country. Yet when they happen things like that, it's – sorry, "he paused, starting to cry. "It makes it a very difficult way to go." Mack still lives with a fear of 24 hours a day, seven days a week for his life. "I am a person who has excellent relationships with the police department, at least in my city and with most of the police, but there is still fear that when I am out of being Sandra Bland. This is a reality." , he said, referring to an African-American woman who was arrested and died in prison in Texas following a widely criticized traffic stop in 2015. When Mack recites the loyalty pledge, she does not say "with freedom and justice for all ". It says "with freedom and justice for some". Spencer, who grew up in East Palo Alto and now works on Facebook, supports peaceful protests but thinks that a significant change will have to come from law enforcement agencies. "The police have to say" no "when they see their partners doing these things and they don't feel well," he said. "They have to say, & # 39; This is not fair. Get your knee off this person's neck. & # 39;" She feels heartened by the images of law enforcement officers across the country taking one knee with protesters, some joining hands through protests, or the Michigan sheriff who took off his helmet and walked next to a peaceful crowd of protesters. On Tuesday evening, the East Palo Alto police department posted a video of a kneeling officer with teenagers protesting on social media. "All the police aren't as bad as all the people aren't bad, but if you don't break the chain then your silence won't stop this organization," said Spencer. "I think it was my glimmer of hope, seeing those cops … We still need them." Keith Richardson opened Keith & # 39; s Chicken N Waffles in Daly City almost four years ago, serving fried chicken legs and thighs with Belgian waffles, candied potatoes and mac and cheese that people tell them remind them of their grandmothers' cooking. He felt a sad form of deja vu from Rodney King's unrest in Los Angeles in 1992. "For me, it's kind of a repetition. The only difference is that Rodney King lived. We didn't have to see a man die. as for the judicial system, it's just a repeat, "he said. Rodney King's unrest seemed like an expression of "direct anger," he said, while current protests have a different feeling. "This wound is different. Hurting is a different pain than before," he said. "This is angry but you're really devastated; you can't believe what happened right in front of you and the way the other officers let it happen." Sandra Dailey, a Palo Alto native who now runs a catering company in Santa Clara, is active in the community as a former president of the Silicon Valley Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet, a member of the board of directors of the African-American Community Services Agency and a Hunger volunteer at Home, which serves meals to needy people. But she can't help but feel "paralyzed" right now. "My heart is heavy. I'm afraid of my men in my family," she said of her two children and husband. This fear is nothing new for Dailey, who said that when she grew up in Palo Alto her brothers were often stopped by the police. But she feels confident when she sees positive police leadership – praised San Jose police chief Eddie Garcia as an example of a transparent communicator – and a new level of discourse on racial relationships. For Max Fennell, a resident of Menlo Park, founder of Fenn Coffee, this moment looks different only in terms of "other people showing indignation. But for a black person, no. We have been fed up with it for a long time," he said. lit a fire under Fennell, not unlike Mack three decades ago. He is considering applying for a seat on the Menlo Park City Council to have a direct hand in improving local relations between the police and the community.
Max Fennell on the current moment: "If anything, this continues to wake up something inside me." Photo by Charles Russo.Fennell, a professional triathlete who was profiled in the New York Times as the only African American sports athlete, said he was stopped by police four times in his five years of life in Silicon Valley. He was once driving down Willow Road to Hwy. 101 with bottles of Fenn espresso shots on his lap. An undercover cop stopped him. With his hand on the gun, the officer asked Fennell what he had on his lap. Fennell explained that it was one of his company's products. He said the police officer told him that he thought it was a cough syrup and that there have recently been problems with abuse in the community. "If anything, this keeps waking up something inside me," said Fennell. "I think people are frustrated. I'm frustrated." Now she's asking, "Max, are you going to post on Instagram or are you going to give up the next four years and be in the service of your community?" For people looking for tangible actions to take in this period, Mack urged them to speak, vote, participate in city council meetings, be involved in their communities. I asked Mack: does this moment seem like a turning point? "At 83, I don't know. I hope so," he said. "The elections will mean a lot. What gives me hope and heart is that the marches and protests have been multicultural." The marches and protests, "he said," look like America. "—— -If you are looking for other ways to support the black community, now and in the future, below is a list of food and beverage companies from Black property in the Peninsula. Do you know an activity that is missing? Send an email to ekadvany @ paweekly.com. The Cocktail Chick, East Palo Alto: Nicole Steward-Crooks manages this mobile cocktail service and will provide mimosas, Georgia peach margarita and other drink creations for free within the prefix 650 and further launched for a fee. Order, text 650-307-9301. The Cookout, Mountain View: The Cookout, a food truck started by Rod McGee, a native of Mountain View, serves southern-style catfish and snapper fried in cornmeal batter, in addition to the "old English" style cod and halibut in batter.
1350 Pear Avenue, Mountain View; 650-300-9945. View Facebook for hours and more details. BackAYard Caribbean Grill, Menlo Park: Robert Simpson has built a reputation for the quality of Jamaican cuisine in BackAYard, from oxtail braised with fried bananas to the national dish of Jamaica, ackee and cod.
1189 Willow Road, Menlo Park; open for takeaway and delivery Mon-Sat. 11: 00-19: 00 650-323-4244 // backayard.net/
Jerk Chicken with Rice and Beans and Plane Trees from BackAYard Caribbean Grill in Menlo Park. Photo by Elena Kadvany.Coconuts Caribbean Restaurant & Bar, Palo Alto: Simpson also owns Coconuts, which during the arrest served a limited menu of Caribbean dishes and takeaway cocktails in the center of Palo Alto.
642 Ramona St., Palo Alto; open to take away and delivery from Tuesday to Sunday. From 11:30 to 19:00 650-329-9533 // coconutspaloalto.com/index.htmlClaire's Crunch Cake, San Mateo: the crispy pies of Claire Mack, modeled on her daughter's favorite cake from the & # 39; now closed San Mateo Blum & # 39; s pastry shop, they are layered sponge cakes enclosed in crisp honeycomb candies. Blum & # 39; s was famous for its flavors of coffee and lemon; added its chocolate and strawberry versions. To place an order, call 650-344-8690. Cash only and collection at his home in San Mateo. 233 N. Grant St., San Mateo; clairescrunchcake.wixsite.comFenn Coffee, Menlo Park: the small coffee roasting company Max Fennell sells fair trade, organic beans, cold espresso and other bottled coffee drinks, available for purchase online or in different stores (The Willow & # 39; s Market in Menlo Park, the Bianchini market in the Portola valley, the Delucchi market in Redwood City, the Edgewood market in Palo Alto, the Burlingame market in Burlingame and the Trag market in San Mateo). Fennell is opening a brick and mortar cafe in San Francisco after a plan for a location in Redwood City has failed. For more information, visit fenncoffee.com Ginger Snap Shots in Stephanie, East Palo Alto: Stephanie Robinson sells bottled shots of ginger and freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juice blends, such as pear, ginger, lemon, lime and green apple. For more information, visit stephaniesgingersnapshots.com.Jonathan's Fish & Chips, East Palo Alto: this local food truck, which Phyllis Cooksey opened as a brick and mortar restaurant now closed on Willow Road over 20 years ago , is still discovering some of the best fried catfish in the area, as well as baby snapper, prawn, okra and silence pups. It is parked off College Track at 1877 Bay Road, Tuesday through Saturday. from 11 to 17 You can call in advance to place an order: 650-323-1092. For more, go to facebook.com/jonathansfishnchips/.
The Jonathan & # 39; s Fish & Chips truck in East Palo Alto. Photo by Elena Kadvany.Keith & # 39; s Chicken N Waffles, Daly City: Keith Richardson's fried chicken, waffles and sides are available for extraction during the arrest. This year it will open a second location in southern San Francisco which will serve a southern breakfast menu.
270 San Pedro Road, Daly City, CA; open for takeaway and delivery Thu-Sat. 11: 00-19: 00 and sun. 10: 00-16: 00 415-347-7208 // keithschickennwaffles.com/Lillie Mae & # 39; s BBQ: Rhonda Manning left a semiconductor career for a life in restaurants, cooking recipes she learned from her grandmother , the namesake of his business. His first restaurant, Lillie Mae & # 39; s House of Soul Food, was located in Santa Clara. Lillie Mae & # 39; s is currently distributing smoked beef brisket, fried chicken, honey corn bread and other southern specialties in cities such as Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Sunnyvale and Cupertino on Friday-Sunday. Orders must be made 24 hours in advance; call or write 408-227-7685. For more information, visit lilliemaesbbq.com.Red & # 39; s House, Daly City: this series of Jamaican pop-up dinners, managed by the mother and son duo Sharon and Christopher Russell, is open for collection and delivery, serving jerky fried chicken wings, goat curry stew and whole fried escovitch fish. They also accept donations to provide meals to people in need during the pandemic. For more information, visit eatreds.com. Taste the seasoning mixes, East Palo Alto: order Lisa Spencer's rubbers, salts, spice mixes – and her popular "Vampire" butter with garlic, parsley sea salt and basil – online for pickup in East Palo Alto or delivery. Also available at The Market at Edgewood in Palo Alto and Delucchi & # 39; s Market in Redwood City. For more information, visit the savorblends.com website.