By Ryan Velez
Martin Luther King Day is generally a solemn day for most Black people, not the type that warrants giving presents. This makes a biracial bar employee’s story even more shocking, as The Grio reports she was given a watermelon to celebrate the holiday.
It was the mother of the woman, Kelly Martin Aimery, who initially broke the story on Facebook.
“I’ve sat and stewed on this and am furious about this. Decided to post and see what everyone thinks. My daughter got this on MLK Day because her work, including her boss, thought this was OK. It is NOT. Come on people. This is awful on so many levels. She is biracial, hence the Happy 1/2 MLK Day. This is on top of many comments her boss feels free to say to her including “halfsy”. PLEASE SHARE #NOTOKAY #racismstillexists #letsmoveforwardnotback,” Aimery wrote on Facebook.
The owner’s response came shortly afterward. “Many of you have expressed your outrage over this incident, and you are right,” the statement on Facebook reads in part. “I take full responsibility. I saw the ‘gift’ and I didn’t stop it. In fact, in a lapse of judgment, I also joined our employees in signing it. While I thought it was an innocent inside joke between employees who are friends, as the owner I should have recognized the inadvertent message, stepped in and stopped this behavior.”
Hearit also promised to address the incident with sensitivity training.
“I want to thank the members of the community who have called out these incredibly insensitive actions. They do not reflect the values of our staff or the owners. We are committed to using this incredibly huge mistake as an opportunity to learn and grow. That is why all current staff members at Darb’s, myself included, will be undergoing mandatory diversity and sensitivity training,” he wrote.
The daughter herself has not made any formal remarks regarding the incident. Darb’s Tavern is located in Mason, Michigan. It remains to be seen how exactly the sensitivity training will be implemented, or if Aimery and her daughter have any legal action planned.