See 1 cafe's response to Zimmerman protest

The Awaken Cafe posted a message after someone shattered its window, broadening the conversation while asserting a local business' place in it.

By Jason Notte Jul 18, 2013 4:21PM
Photo credit: Cortt Dunlap, Owner/Manager
Awaken CafeWhen the verdict came down acquitting George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, protesters in downtown Oakland, Calif., shattered the front window of Awaken Cafe right in the middle of a band's set.


While startled and somewhat terrified, customers just moved away from the window and the band played on. It wasn't until Monday, when the press descended on Oakland, that the story took a turn.


Cafe owner Cortt Dunlap had grown accustomed to the volley of questions, as his restaurant and music venue's location in the center of City Plaza gave it a close look at Occupy protests and a stream of other marches and demonstrations in recent years. This time, however, Dunlap got the sense that he and his freshly broken window were more of a prop than a pull quote.


"Journalists kept popping in, asking for a statement and asking me to stand in front of the window and they seemed to be following one of two stories: 1. How terrible is it for a small business to have its windows broken and 2. How terrible of a job do you think the Oakland Police Department did?" Dunlap told MoneyNOW.


"I wasn't interested in either of those narratives when film crew after film crew was coming by to take photos of the window," he added, "so it occurred to me that it may be an opportunity to redirect the conversation to what it should be about.”


In a roughly five-minute span, Dunlap did a search on U.S. conviction rates by race, pulled the information off of Wikipedia and incorporated it into an message he posted in the center of his shattered window pane:


This window will be fixed later today. When will the US justice system? The likelihood of black males going to prison in their lifetimes is 28%, compared to 4% of white males and 16% of Hispanic males. When will our archaic gun control laws?


Dunlap cedes that he wishes he took some time to polish the grammar and syntax, but the message was received. The 2,700 messages received through the cafe's website and the back-and-forth conversation on its Facebook page had broadened the discussion beyond Awaken's window. While some of Dunlap's online critics say his response amounts to tacit agreement with the actions that led to his window being smashed, he views the message as a retort, not applause.


"It's not that I condone having my windows broken, but I think the more attention we give to that, the more fuel we throw on the fire," Dunlap says. "It's a distraction and I wonder if all the attention just emboldens those who would do harm to others and window smashers."


It's also an extension of Dunlap's belief that local businesses such as his need to have a vocal, ongoing relationship with the community they serve. During the Occupy protests, for example, Dunlap says the shop stayed open late to allow protesters and those covering the protests to eat, use the bathrooms, charge phones and use the cafe's Wi-Fi to file stories.


When neighbors, customers and others have asked how they can donate to help fix his broken window, Dunlap asked them to pay it forward to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in keeping with his original message. After all, he says, his landlord is the city of Oakland and the cost of his cafe's broken window falls on everyone in town.


As Dunlap learned during the Occupy protest, a segment of that movement took an anti-gentrification stance against businesses that included his own. He suggests that such sentiment may have played a role in shattering his window, but says it's also made him more committed to engaging the community around him and becoming a vital part of it.


"When money is staying in the community and the business owner is standing across the counter from you and knows who you are, people tend to be more accountable to each other," he says.


More on moneyNOW

Tags: Drama
17Comments
Jul 18, 2013 5:49PM
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Take group of people, 75% of whom are born illegitimately.   Teach them that they are victims and that white people are trying to oppress them.  Make sure they go to the worst schools, have access to the worst healthcare and live in the worst neighborhoods.  Get them addicted to gov welfare, thereby giving them just enough to survive, but not enough to thrive, all so you can wield power over them and buy their votes with little more than beads and trinkets.  Do everything possible to cheapen the value of human life and desensitize them by constantly exposing them to assault, thievery, rape, murder and domestic violence, beginning at a young age.  And then relegate all the males in this group to the realm of irrelevancy, where their only obligation in life is to inseminate women, without making any commitment or accepting any responsibility.  All the while, glorify and celebrate this dysfunctional and self-destructive way of life in movies, music and TV.  This is exactly how to create generations of thugs and criminals.
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If anyone read these stats; (aprox rounded up).

In the USA;

82% of all crime is done by people, 16-37 y.o. Sad but true fact.

Black males, 88% of this is crime done with their blood, another sad fact.

Prisons are loaded with black males; why? They do 88% of all crimes.

Drug, gun violence are 69% of that, rape, burglary, the rest, only 2% is soft crime.

 

So to all you Martin lovers; he was just as fault as he punched first; if you want to do some good,

stop making this a murder, race card, protest to stop, ALL BLACK CRIME. PERIOD!!!!!!

 

One mixed Male, yes, black, no crimes.

Jul 18, 2013 4:56PM
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If a white man had been killed this would have been another case of a man defending himself and We The People would never had heard about it.
Jul 18, 2013 5:33PM
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Sounds as if he is just taking the side of the window smashers so they may view him with favor the next time.  Blacks are arrested more because their culture is broken and their leaders are corrupt. 
Jul 18, 2013 7:50PM
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This is laughable. They're blaming the system for their 28% chance of going to prison, compared to 4% for whites and 16% for Hispanics. Wake up. There's a reason why more Blacks are in prison compared to other races. They're uneducated and are more prone to violence and are the major welfare recipients. And they wonder why GZ had to follow a Black teen wearing a hoodie and wandering around his neighborhood. Whites and Asians are at the top of the economic ladder while Blacks and Hispanics are at the bottom, and that tells you everything you need to know.
Jul 18, 2013 7:02PM
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what is he actually saying, though? is he suggesting that the cause of more blacks in the criminal system is racism? that's idiotic. there are more blacks convicted of crimes because there are more blacks committing crimes. the responsibility lies in the lap of the black culture, that is prevalent, now. rap songs that glorify criminal activity. dress styles that imitate prison dress. the fact that, while white people think it is bad, and not a normal part of everyday life, to spend time in jail, most of the black people I have known or worked with have acted like spending time in jail is just a regular part of everyday life. that's a wrong attitude to have. as long as the general black community and black musicians, who are the role models for black youth, continue to encourage the idea that criminal behavior is cool and jailbirds are to be looked up to, you are going to see a high amount of blacks in the criminal system because a large number of blacks will continue to commit crimes. kids do what they can to live up to the ideals that their community and role models set for them. it's just that simple. what's worse, if you are black and you disagree with these ideals; if you work hard to better yourself and if you do not embrace the criminal culture, you are considered an uncle tom by the rest of your peers. this discourages young black people from trying to get a better life for themselves.

 

the other point I have is this sign's insinuation that stricter gun laws will stop crime. last I checked, drugs were illegal. but I haven't noticed we live in a drug free America. also, even without a gun, I believe rape, robbery, and murder are already illegal. criminals are people who do those illegal things so I fail to see how making guns illegal will keep law breakers from using guns to help them break the law. certainly, murderers will not turn in their guns, jut because they are made illegal. if that was the case, you wouldn't have to ban guns, or even discuss it, because murderers wouldn't commit murder, since murder is already illegal.

 

in the end, perhaps Trayvon wouldn't have gotten shot if he hadn't seen fit to beat the crap out of Zimmerman because he didn't like the way he was looking at him. Trayvon was the aggressor. he illegally assaulted and battered Zimmerman, which was the cause of his getting shot. nothing, that happened before Trayvon attacked Zimmerman, was criminal. Nothing, that happened before Trayvon attacked Zimmerman got Trayvon shot. Trayvon brutally attacking Zimmerman was illegal and was what caused Trayvon to get shot.

 

moral of the story? keep your hands to yourself, and you won't get shot by some dude trying to keep you from beating his head into the blacktop.

Jul 18, 2013 4:45PM
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One I do not know what the facts are in the Zimmerman case.

Two I think that who ever broke the window of the café is a criminal and should be arrested and if convicted made to pay based on the laws in Oakland where this occurred.

Three I am sure that his facts on prison rates are correct. I would hope that our system would be color blind. The question I ask about these facts is it because of the race or because of poverty (no matter the "cause"), drug (no matter the drug) use.

Jul 19, 2013 9:35AM
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It is hard to fight the statistics. The math does not care of the colors. It cares of head count. As far as the cafe owner: why the angry mobs destroyed his window ? Not like he gave GZ a gun to shoot, right ? So if next time I get a parking ticket, should I just get baseball bat and go along the street crushing car windows ?
Jul 19, 2013 7:35AM
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Here is hoping the "protesters" come back again to this location.  The owner sounds like just another Lib-tard.

Jul 18, 2013 10:34PM
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the civil case will go nowhere. just one or two misdemeanor arrests on someones record is why.
Jul 19, 2013 12:11PM
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iT'S REALLY SAD TO SEE THE COMMENTS ON THIS STORY, AND IT'S VERY OBVIOUS THAT ALL WHO COMMENTED ARE WHITE SO-CALLED AMERICANS.  FIRST LETS LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED IN THE ZIMMERMAN CASE; A MALE ADULT WHO HAS BEEN TRAINING MMA FOR A YEAR AND IS ARMED WITH A HANDGUN IS FOLLOWING A YOUNG MAN WALKING THROUGH HIS FATHER'S  NEIGHBORHOOD RETURNING FROM A STORE. (FACT)  THE ADULT MALE KNOWS HE SHOULD NOT BE ARMED VIOLATION OF HIS NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH POLICY, TOLD NOT TO PURSUE BY POLICE, ANOTHER POLICY VIOLATION, CONFRONTED THE THE YOUNG MAN , ANOTHER VIOLATION OF POLICY AND THEN WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE THAT HE IS THE ONE THAT IS IN FEAR FOR HIS LIFE.

I SAY TO EACH OF YOU THAT HAVE RESPONDED SO FAR, PLEASE, LEARN TO THINK FOR YOURSELVES.  IF YOU MAKE STATEMENTS KNOW THE FACTS, THERE ARE MORE WHITE PEOPLE ON WELFARE IN THIS COUNTRY THAN BLACKS AND ALSO IN JAIL AND THAT'S NOT REALLY THE POINT HERE IS IT?

THE DEEP SEATED RACISM IN THIS COUNTRY WILL BE ITS DOWNFALL, WHILE THE RICH STOCKPILE THERE MONEY AND THE WORKING CLASS CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE (BACK/WHITE/ASIAN/HISPANIC), WE CONTINUE TO BE DISTRACTED BY THE THINGS THAT DIVIDE US.  I DON'T HEAR COMPLAINTS ABOUT BLACKS AND HISPANICS WHEN THEY ARE DYING TO KEEP YOU RACIST FOLKS FREE WHILE DEFENDING THIS COUNTRY.  IT'S FOLKS JUST YOU WHO MAKE ME ASHAMED TO SAY I AM AN AMERICAN WHO HAPPENS TO BE OF AFRICAN DESCENT.  

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