Saturday, March 31, 2007

Detroit Youth Demand Respect For Elder Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts

Detroit youth demand respect for elder

Published Mar 29, 2007 12:14 AM
Reprinted From Workers World

On March 23 militant African-American youth silenced the lunchtime cash register at Epicurus Place. On Feb. 28, respected community elder and artist Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts was assaulted by an employee of this restaurant near Wayne State University in Detroit. Demonstrators are demanding a verbal apology to Ibn by the owners of the restaurant, a written apology, a televised public apology and training for the owners and staff so they can serve the community with respect and sensitivity.

According to the Pan African News Wire blog: , “For the past two weeks, a few of Ibn’s supporters have protested daily, urging people of conscience to boycott the restaurant. Ibn has filed a criminal complaint, which is currently in the hands of the Wayne County prosecutor. He has also initiated steps to file a civil lawsuit.

Detroit City Council members Kwame Kenyatta and JoAnn Watson and Wayne County Commission Chair Jewel Ware have expressed their support for Pitts in his struggle for justice.

“Ibn is 65-year-old artist who was recently honored as the Artist of the Year by the Metro Times Newspaper. He is a longtime activist, having been a member of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, the National Conference of Artists and numerous other organizations. He is a member of the Council of Elders of the African Community of Detroit. Pitts has traveled to the Canary Islands, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana.”

The boycott and demonstrations will continue until the community’s demands are met.

—Report and photos by Cheryl LaBash
Articles copyright 1995-2007 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Community demands apology from Greek restaurant

Published 03/29/2007 | Main News

More than 100 Detroiters showed up March 23 in front of the Epicurus, a Greek restaurant on 111 W. Warren between Cass and Woodward, demanding an apology from the restaurant owners for an allege assault on Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts.

An accomplished Detroit artist and poet named recently named by Metro Times as artist of the year, Pitts is the brother of renowned criminal defense attorney Cornelius Pitts.

He said that on Feb. 28, an employee of Epicurus beat and dragged him out of the restaurant after he attempted to use the washroom.

“Just as I turned to relieve myself, the door was jerked open and I saw this angry man (approaching) me with his fists balled up. I put my head down and covered my face with my arms,” Pitts said. “He started hitting me and then grabbing me around my shoulders and dragged me out of the washroom into the restaurant area, calling me foul names and slinging me towards the door.”

The protesters marched in front of the restaurant for almost an hour, some urging customers to not patronize a business they claim disrespects senior citizens.

“The people are making a statement that the elderly in our community deserve respect,” said Sandra Flenoil-Simmons, an English professor at Wayne State University. “We cannot allow anyone to disrespect them.”

Dawud Muhammad, head of the Nation of Islam chapter in Detroit, urged the marchers to not only protest, but resort to creating something concrete in the community.

He said the incident involving Pitts is a lesson that the Black community should begin meaningful ventures.

“Take this as a beginning point. You’ve already beat the odds by being here,” Muhammad said. “Not only do you protest, also start doing something for self.”

Restaurant staffers said they would not comment on this story on the advice of their counsel.

Pitts, 65, said he plans to take his case to court.

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