Detroit’s Checker Bar hosts race chat after employee-customer incident

DETROIT – A discussion on race will take place later this month at the Checker Bar in downtown Detroit after an incident between an employee and a customer.

“He started arguing with one of my other friends and it turned into a really big situation,” Wendall Fleming said. “He called her a word I can’t repeat right now.”

Fleming said he was at Checker Bar with friends in June when there was a problem with a bartender. He posted about the incident on social media and the employee was fired.

“That’s when we did our due diligence — follow up, let the employee go the very next day,” said Matthew Pollard, chief operating officer at Grand Trunk Hospitality Group.

Fleming decided the incident was the perfect opportunity to open up a broader discussion about race.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to explore that in more depth,” he said.

So Fleming reached out to Charity Dean, the director of the office for civil rights, inclusion and opportunity in Detroit.

“Wendell really said he wanted to have a serious conversation about race,” Dean said.

Let’s Talk Race, a discussion that will focus on the history and roots of racial discrimination in Detroit, will be held at the bar.

“I don’t expect the world to change overnight, of course, but I can’t wait for everyone to start coming together,” Fleming said.

Race Talk will be held November 21 at 3:30 p.m. at the Checker Bar at 124 Cadillac Place.

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