South Bend residents gather at Martin's Supermarket to discuss ways to end racial injustice
SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- It started out with a small protest outside of a Martin’s Supermarket in Granger just a few weeks back, and on Sunday, community members gathered again, but this time outside of the Martin’s on South Bend Avenue with a different approach.
Avery Worrell lives in South Bend, and up until June 5th he was working at Martin’s Supermarket as a cashier, until things took a turn and he decided enough is enough.
Worrell had been sporting a Black Lives Matter face mask while on the job, and after many customer complaints, he was told to take it off.
Worrell took to Facebook about his situation, his post ending up going viral.
On Sunday, Worrell along with many other community members met up for a second time at Martin's to discuss ways to end racial injustice.
“Today we really want to be about how pervasive racism is in kind of every industry,” Worrell said.
“We’re just trying to really attack the fact that racism is basically in every part of our lives and we have to be able to recognize that and actively combat it with proactive responses.”
Worrell said that his story isn’t the only one, and that it’s important to give others a chance to tell their stories and have their voices heard.
“I don’t really know what it’s like to be discriminated against. So it’s better to hear from the people who have been discriminated against. I can speak out about me seeing it, but that doesn’t mean I know how it feels, and I’ll never know how it feels,” Worrell said.
Others who joined the demonstration said that this is their way to take action towards what they believe is right.
“I’m here today because I’m a fighter against these systems, we’ve got to dismantle the things that are taking place and I want to belong, so I’m fighting for belongingness [sic],” South Bend resident Tiana Batiste-Waddell said.
Demonstrators hope that gatherings like these will lead to much bigger changes in the future.
“The things that I want to see are people putting in efforts to restore relationships, people’s relationships are broken right now,” Batiste-Waddell said.
“There are measurable ways to do that, and people can do the research to make that happen in their own institutions like Martins, or the police department or education or the health care, or whatever institution it is.”
ABC57 news did reach out to Martin’s Supermarket for comment on Sunday’s demonstration, but have yet to receive a response back.
However, Martin’s Senior Vice President Amy McClellan did release a statement in the beginning of June saying that even though they support racial equality and justice that quote:
"As part of our uniform guidelines, we inform associates that they may not wear anything to work that advocates a position,” McClellan said.
After the gathering, community members got in their cars and caravanned as part of their demonstration. Worrell said that what’s most important to do now, is to continue to speak out and come out to support your local communities towards change.