Thursday, September 17, 2015

#HERO: Gaslamp & Why We Should Vote YES on Prop1 (PART 1)

I have been sitting back waiting to respond to the incidents that have taken place at Gaslamp in Midtown. This takes me back to an incident that I wrote about that took place at Tony’s Corner Pocket on LUEY weekend, when I was told “get out of my way nigger.” Then finding out that Tony’s had a history of prejudice and racism toward Black members of the LGBT community via stories and screenshots from one of the DJs who worked there. The connection between Gaslamp and Tony’s is that they both used a cover charge and only for Black and Brown people who sought to enter. These incidences outline the NEED for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance which protects Houstonians in situations like this.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance provides protections in employment (both public and private), housing and public accommodations for the following classes:


- sex                          - age                                         - disability
- race                         - familial status                        - sexual orientation
- color                        - marital status                         - genetic information
- ethnicity                  - military status                        - gender identity

- national origin         - religion                                  - pregnancy

Recently Three black men, Brandon Ball (32), Dan Scarbrough (42), and Ken Piggee (43) made their way to Gaslamp (Facebook page & website) and were told that they would be charged a cover because they were out of dress code.  They decided not to pay the cover and went elsewhere and then decided to walk back by Gaslamp and from Brandon Ball’s observation... 

"We're looking, and there are white people going in and getting their hands stamped..."

"They were going in and not paying anything."

...White customers entered "free of charge and minorities get turned away." According to the Houston Chronicle, the trio observed "Two black men visiting from San Antonio said they were told they couldn't enter because they were wearing Polo shirts and jeans. A group of Hispanic men said they were told to pay a cover. Two Brazilian men received the same treatment, as did two Vietnamese women," and "A large group of Hispanic men and women also were told they couldn't enter without a $20 charge, while a group of white people went in for free..."

Ball also told The Chronicle this: "It didn't matter what they had on for the most part..." in reference to the white patrons entering the bar that night

Here is an excerpt of a post on Facebook from Ball:

My name is Brandon Ball. I am 32 years old. I am African American. Tonight I was with my friends Dan Scarbrough (42) and Ken Piggee (43). Both are also African American. We were in the Midtown area of Houston, TX tonight and tried to go into The Gaslamp. Both Dan and Ken had on blazers. I had on a button up and slacks. When we walked up the guy at the door told us $20 each. We didn’t want to pay that amount so we decided to go to the next bar down, The Dogwood, which was free. After about 30 minutes we left The Dogwood and were walking back. As we passed The Gaslamp we noticed folks walking into The Gaslamp without having to pay. Those folks who didn’t have to pay were white. I brought this to Dan’s attention a few minutes later and he said we should go back and just watch from across the street to see if there was some "funny business" going on. Ken, Dan, and I went back and watched from across the street as the guys who were working the front door of The Gaslamp allowed white people to come in one after the other. Every black person who we watched try to go in was told there was a $20 cover or that their attire was not proper. One black guy was told that he could not get in because he had on Polo Boots. Dan spoke to several people who were told there was a $20 cover and they pretty much all said the same thing. It was not just blacks they were charging. It was people of both Asian and Latin decent. I again tried to walk in and was told there was a $20 cover. This was right after I had just seen a group of white guys walk right in. I finally went and spoke to the cop who was working the door (who is a minority himself) and asked him if he was aware and comfortable with how the door guys were conducting business. His reply was basically... "I just work and do my job and those guys over there do their job." I told him he was complicit but he blew me off. I then took pictures of the two main guys at the front door and both of them began to ask if I had a problem. The one in the short sleeved shirt went as far to tell me that he hoped I didn’t "run up on him in the streets because it would be a problem." Why does this matter to me? Why is this important? If I have to answer that please just move along. This post is not meant for you. This event occurred in the late night of Sept. 11th. A day in which we as a country are supposed to come together. But events like this just tells us how far apart we are. Please share this. Please pass along. Please read this and understand what type of establishment The Gaslamp is. If you were at The Gaslamp on this night and had a similar experience please comment and share. Don’t let actions such as this continue with no recourse. If you know the guys working the door let them see this. Please let them. Remember, this is 2015."

As of today the Chron reports that law enforcement some agencies are no longer providing services to Gaslamp and aside from that, this story illustrates the need for Proposition 1(HERO) to pass on November 3. When HERO was in effect, ninety five percent of reported discrimination was based on race. TO BE CONTINUED....


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