Following allegations of racism, the owners of Dillingers Celtic Pub & Eatery have signed an anti-discrimination pledge.
The pledge was unveiled at an anti-discrimination rally held by the Confronting Racism Coordinating Committee and Women’s Student Union on Nov. 1. Representatives from Dillingers were not among the representatives of local businesses who originally signed the pledge to not discriminate based on race, sex or age. According to Toivo Asheeke, an organizer with the Confronting Racism Coordinating Committee and a graduate student studying sociology, the owners claimed to be out of town at the original rally, though he expressed skepticism about that claim.
“We still do not understand why he was not here; he knew about it, although he claims not to have known about it,” Asheeke said.
Both the pledge and the rally were direct responses to an Aug. 25 incident where a black SUNY Broome Community College student, Kyle Lovett-Pitts, was denied access to Dillingers and called racial slurs. Because Dillingers did not sign the pledge originally, the Confronting Racism Coordinating Committee and Women’s Student Union sent Dillingers an invitation to a public signing of the pledge on Nov. 8.
“It’s a public signing, not a rally, so that he could do it in public versus hiding behind corners signing documents,” Asheeke said.
Dillingers owner Monarco DiFrancesco signed the pledge at Greenman’s Park on Friday evening, thereby agreeing to the three additional requests that the CRCC and WSU made in their invitation to sign the pledge. Dillingers agreed to release a statement to the media that they apologize for what happened to Lovett-Pitts and that they wish for all charges to be dropped, as well as asking local media to stop “denigrating” Lovett-Pitts’ name, according to Asheeke. At the time of printing, Pipe Dream was unable to reach Dillingers for comments.
Kimberly Gonzalez, president of the Black Student Union at SUNY BCC, thought that Dillingers signing the pledge was a positive step for the establishment and the community as a whole. She said that her organization has been actively involved in educating the community about the incident in August by holding meetings, passing out flyers and supporting the rally on Nov. 1.
“It means a lot to us, it shows that the rally was very effective that they came out here to support what the rally was about,” said Gonzalez, a second-year liberal arts student.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified BCC Black Student Union President Kimberly Gonzalez as Emily Gonzalez.