Black women’s group boycotts Mix Downtown amid allegations of racial discrimination

The Sacramento Sisters Circle calls for action following an alleged assault at the Sacramento nightclub

A black women’s group is calling for a boycott of Mix Downtown and other local venues following an alleged racially charged attack against a patron.

In an open letter to Sacramento restaurant and bar owner Mason Wong, Sacramento Sister Circle has announced a boycott of Mix Downtown, Cafeteria 15L/The Park Ultra Lounge, Iron Horse Tavern and Firestone Public House until Wong and his associates take steps to fix what they believe to be a pattern of “blatant racial discrimination.”

The boycott comes after a discussion on the group’s 3,000-plus-member Facebook page, which comprises professional black women in the region, revealed what the group says is a two-year pattern of mistreatment at Mix Downtown and related venues. The group has also compiled a document listing two dozen similar accounts.

“It’s been happening over and over again,” said Christi Ketchum, founder of Sacramento Sisters Circle. “At some point we have to say enough is enough.”

Wong says he’s launched an internal investigation into the allegations, which first surfaced after a Facebook post by a Sacramento woman went viral.

On July 8, Brionna Powe posted to the social media network, describing a scene in which she said she was assaulted physically and verbally by a Mix Downtown bouncer. Powe wrote that a white bouncer came up to her as the bar was closing, grabbed her arm and told her it was time to leave. When she told him to take his hand off her, he responded that “he will do what ever the fuck he wants to do.”

“At this point I don’t know who this man is, he’s grabbing me, he won’t let go of me, my instinct is to get free of him,” Powe told SN&R.

She wrote that she tried to break free of his grip, which was when he started to “manhandle” her, tugging her and then calling her a “nappy headed bitch.” Powe says as she tried to pry herself from the bouncer, her fingernails became broken and bloody.

The post, which includes an image of Powe’s nails, has been shared more than 950 times on Facebook.

“For them to put their hands on her, for them to call her the names that they called her, it did not sit well with me,” Ketchum said.

Wong says the bouncer has been fired.

“We are still collecting information on the alleged incident,” Wong said in a statement. “We are deeply troubled by the complaint and we want to assure our guests, employees and the community that we are taking the complaint very seriously, and will take the steps necessary to fully investigate and properly address the issue.”

Powe says she did not fill out a police report because she wanted to get the bouncer’s name first. She still doesn’t know his name, but is considering contacting the police. Powe’s attorney, Keith Cable, says that they expect to file a battery claim and a civil rights claim by Friday, July 29.

In its letter, Sacramento Sister Circle has called for a public apology to Powe, termination of Mix Downtown’s current security team’s contract and for the business to post on its websites and social media pages the steps Mix will take “to improve relations with African Americans.” It has also requested cultural sensitivity training for all staff and contractors that come in contact with customers.

Powe is a member of the group, which on its Facebook page describes itself as “an open and safe space for Black Women to come together and discuss pressing issues and the good, bad, ugly, and amazing events happening in our lives.”

Meanwhile, in light of numerous other complaints from Sister Circle members, Ketchum has leveraged the group to call for widespread action.

“I would like for [Sacramento residents] to not patronize any of these establishments because I think this has been happening for way too long,” said Ketchum. “They have not done anything to rectify the situation.”

Wong says he intends to continue the discussion, adding that he and the group are currently making plans to meet.