Friday, August 14, 2009

Little Children have no place in americas' old baggage


This cartoon illustrates the story below - Stupidity at Work Today.

America, How Can You Continue to Build on a Legacy of Hatred ?

This is absolutely stupid - I saw this on Aldon Hynes' blog today; and it pissed me off to no end. how the scenario played out according to the article points out some fundamental issues that seem to be too American, for America.

Please Be Sure to Continue to below the article to read Aldons' Very Well Written Letter - which has received NO Response yet from Sheraton.

Leave the Kids out of your Damn Racism Adults - Really Doh




Drill Team Booted

by Melissa Bailey | August 6, 2009 7:32 AM

TM_051709_079.jpg

Thomas MacMillan File Photo
Dixwell’s drill team soared to victory in a national competition in Kansas City — then saw its trip cut short by a late-night visit from the cops.

The Nation Drum and Drill Squad took a bus ride back to New Haven Wednesday after scoring gold and silver trophies in a national drill team competition.

Their return trip came one day earlier than planned — after an early-morning wake-up call from the police.

In what staff called a “highly unusual” move, the Sheraton Kansas City Sports Complex Hotel evicted the 35 kids and 13 chaperons from their hotel rooms at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, citing repeated noise complaints from people who were trying to sleep nearby.

The hotel called in police officers to kick the group out. No arrests were made.

Doug Bethea, leader of the Nation Drill Team, called the eviction a “horrible” end to an otherwise successful trip.

“I’ve never in my life experienced something like this,” Bethea said. He accused the hotel of racial discrimination and vowed to litigate.

“It all boils down to, they had 48 black people in their hotel and they did not like it,” Bethea said. The hotel denied that charge.



Bethea, the founder and head of the Nation squad, has been leading the group to national competitions for 21 years. The competition is in a different city each year. This year’s trip started out well: On Tuesday, the group scored first place in the junior division precision category, and second place in the senior division “fancy trick” category, in which they were defending champs. Click here and on the play arrow to read about how hard they worked to get there.

After the competition, the trip took a turn for the worse, Bethea said. He described Wednesday morning as the breaking point of a week of discriminatory treatment from hotel staff.

“Get Out Of Here Now”

Ten police officers banged on his hotel door wielding Taser stun guns at about 1:30 a.m., he said. Hotel staff was there, too.

“We want you guys out of here now,” they told the drill team, according to Bethea. The cops didn’t use the Tasers, but their presence scared the kids, he said.

Bethea was outraged. He said at that time, the only people who were awake were four adults and four college-aged kids. They were hanging out together in one hotel room, giggling, laughing and telling stories. The drill team folks in the other nine rooms were asleep, he said.

He asked why the police needed to wake up all the children, including three babies, in the middle of the night.

“There’s no justification” for that, he said. He asked the hotel to let these kids stay; he would get them out in the morning.

The hotel refused.

According to the hotel’s general manager, Ted Frerking, Bethea had already been warned that the group was on the verge of eviction. Staff had received repeated complaints about the group being noisy ever since the drill team checked in Sunday night, he said. On Tuesday at 10:30 p.m., they got two more noise complaints from guests.

Hotel staff gave the drill team a “final warning,” Frerking said. Then, at 1:20 a.m., they got two more guest complaints. They made the decision to kick the group out. Since it was such a large group, they called police for help with the eviction, Frerking said.

Bethea said the situation was tense. Parents and some older kids on the trip “wanted to stand their ground.” Some of the kids “were ready to fight the police officers.”

Bethea said he complied with the officers’ request, in order to defuse the situation.

“Let’s get out of here before anyone gets hurt,” he told them. With police standing guard, the group packed up its belongings and left at 2:30 a.m., Bethea said. He pulled $400 from his own pocket to find rooms to stay in at a nearby Days Inn.

The eviction was carried through without incident, according to Sgt. Stacey Graves, a public information officer for the Kansas City police. She confirmed that a staff person at the hotel called police at 1:20 a.m. Wednesday. The caller said a large group was refusing to leave the hotel. They were “arguing about payment, and arguing with security,” she said. Police showed up at the hotel and resolved the issue, she said. She said the police did carry Tasers, which are standard issue on police uniforms. No arrests were made and no police report was written, she said.

“A Reality Call”

Reached by phone Wednesday, Bethea and two members of the trip said they had been discriminated against by the hotel all week. Bethea said the New Haveners were among the few black people at the largely white hotel.

Racial tension first materialized Monday night, when about five teenagers went down to the hotel bar to get something to eat. An intoxicated patron at the bar made a remark to the effect of “wow, look at the black people,” according to Bethea. Heated words flew.

Bethea was called downstairs to resolve the situation. There was no fight, but the kids were on the verge. “These kids were ready to do whatever they had to do to survive,” he said.

Frerking said the New Haven kids misconstrued a statement made by a bar patron. He said they thought the remark was about them, but it wasn’t.

Diane Wilson, a chaperon and the grandmother of a 11-year-old on the trip, said racial profiling took other forms, too: The group wasn’t given room service for two days, was denied new rolls of toilet paper, and was subjected to racially charged remarks by hotel staff, she asserted.

As one hotel staffer got off an elevator, she was overheard saying “there’s a bunch of them running around here,” Wilson said. Wilson took the remark to have a racial connotation.

Ronald Huggins said he heard a female staffer say the New Haven kids were “all over the place like roaches.” Huggins, Bethea’s nephew, drums on the drill team and helps manage the team.

Frerking said he didn’t know anything about those allegations. He denied the group was mistreated on account of race.

“We treat all our guests fairly. It had nothing to do with the group other than the noise,” said Frerking. “Like any room, if they’re noisy, we would ask them to depart.”

He called the situation “unfortunate,” but said the hotel “has the responsibility to maintain quiet and restful environment.”

The disruption was starting to be costly, he added: Frerking said the hotel has had to compensate seven guests with free nights’ stays on account of the drill team’s noise.

“We’ve got to respect the concerns of the other guests as well,” he said. The hotel plans to reimburse the drill team for Tuesday and Wednesday nights’ stays, he added.

Meanwhile, reached on the 22-hour bus ride back to New Haven, Bethea vowed to file a racial discrimination lawsuit.

To top off their trip, Bethea and Huggins said the group was called “monkeys” by a client at the second hotel. The person told them to “go back to Africa,” according to Huggins.

“I’m upset and appalled,” said Huggins. He said the trip served as “a reality call” for the kids on the team, many of whom don’t otherwise get to leave New Haven. He said the trip showed him that in America, “certain parts have progressed, and other parts are still behind.”

Next year, the national competition will be in Las Vegas. Bethea said he doesn’t expect any problems there.

The experience in Kansas City “won’t stop me from doing competitions,” he said. “This is what I live for.”

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This is the Mail sent to Sheraton from Aldon Hynes who pulled our coats to the incident . Thanks Aldon - You're a Good Man and a Great Journalist.

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From: Aldon Hynes [mailto:Aldon.Hynes]
Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009 9:33 AM
To: publicrelations@starwoodhotels.com
Subject: Alleged Racial Profiling at Sheraton Kansas City Sports Complex
Hotel

One of the top news stories in Connecticut right now is about New Haven
Connecticut's Dixwell National Drum and Drill Squad which won gold and
silver trophies at the Elks Grand Lodge World National Championships in
Kansas City.

According to the article in the New Haven Independent,
http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2009/08/drill_team_boot.php

"In what staff called a “highly unusual” move, the Sheraton Kansas City
Sports Complex Hotel evicted the 35 kids and 13 chaperons from their hotel
rooms at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, citing repeated noise complaints from people
who were trying to sleep nearby.

The hotel called in police officers to kick the group out. No arrests were
made."

The local television affiliates are now running the story, with the NBC
affiliate running
http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local-beat/Racket-Or-Racism-You-Decide-52
612957.html

and another New Haven paper has
http://nhregister.com/articles/2009/08/07/news/new_haven/a1_--_drillteam.txt

I am interested in writing a follow-up to these articles, and I am wondering
if you have any comments.

Has anyone from any of these news outlets contacted the public relations
department for Starwood Hotels?

If so, can you tell me anything about which organizations contacted you and the nature of their questions?

If not, had this reached the public relations department, or is this the
first you have heard of it? If you have already heard of this, where did
you hear about it? How does your department track stories that could affect the image of your hotel properties?

Will Starwood Hotels do any sort of internal investigation of the event
and/or issue any sort of press release?

Are there security camera tapes that substantiate or contradict the
statements about "children running down the hallway and music blaring"?

According to the New Haven Register article, hotel manager Ted Frerking
claimed to have received numerous noise complaints from other guests since the group arrived Sunday afternoon and checked into 10 rooms. Are records kept of these phone calls? Can the number of phone calls be reported?
Frerking also claimed that one-too-many angry guests grew upset. How many is that? Is there any way I can contact any of the guests that Mr. Frerking is talking about? What are Starwood's policies concerning evicting guests?

The article also reports that Doug Bethea, leader of the Nation Drill Team,
claims Sheraton hasn’t compensated them for leaving their rooms two nights
early. What are the policies for reimbursing guests who are asked to leave
early?

I realize that this may be a complex issue in respecting the rights of all
patrons, those celebrating from a national victory as well as those seeking
a good night sleep. I also realize that with the possibility of pending
litigation, you may be limited about what you can say. However, I do
believe that this provides an important opportunity to examine how a
corporation chooses to address a volatile situation and any insights into
how you are arriving at what statements you make would also be greatly
appreciated.

I am writing for a 3 PM deadline, so please plan your response accordingly.

Thank you very much,
Aldon Hynes


2 comments:

askcherlock said...

This situation is almost too hard to grasp. For children to be subjected to the very sight of Tasers is frightening. I have had taken my daughter's dance team to various places for competition. Sure, they were a bit loud but they were having fun and on a new adventure. No one issued warnings to us. We were all White.

I am appalled and angry that this goes on in America. But not surprised.

Anonymous said...

Any lawsuit finally?
Or the victims of racism finally realized they need to learn to behave?