SHORELINE, Wash. - A popular Black-owned coffee shop in King County is yet again the target of multiple racist attacks, this time over the phone.
FOX 13 News talked with the owner and an employee at Black Coffee Northwest about the hateful phone calls.
"This is happening on a regular basis. This is not fake. It’s real. This is real life," said Merit Ghidey, Barista Shift Lead at Black Coffee Northwest. "We’ve been getting some phone calls and voicemails from racist people who want to bash Black people in general and our business."
Ghidey is 17 years old and goes to high school in the Shoreline community. The other employees are also young women in high school or recent college graduates.
"That’s the part that fires me up more, because at the end of the day, they’re young people that live and go to school here," said Darnesha Weary, the shop's co-owner and founder. "The only reason why people are mad is because you’re doing something right, so not to take it personally, although I know it affects them personally because no one wants to hear that."
The phone calls consist of racist language, profanities and death wishes.
"There’s no reason to bash people for what they look like or who they are, just being who you are is enough and just be positive," said Ghidey.
Black Coffee Northwest opened in Oct. 2020, and the owners said there have been several incidents targeting their business, from racist hate language to vandalism and even break-ins.
"We’re just here to continue pressing on, because for us as Black people, this fight for justice hasn’t just begun," said Weary. "We’re just picking up where our people first have left off, and we’re passing it to the next generation so they can continue the work. Coffee is just a vehicle that we use. We want them to come in and walk out being challenged or changed."
The owners also have a youth leadership development space called "Grounded," which is located in the same building. It provides a safe space for black youth in the community to come together and find belonging.
It’s a nonprofit organization that provides drop-in study sessions during the school year, a podcast and studio room, free weekly mental health sessions and soon a music room with instruments.
Weary said they plan on having a staff meeting early next week to discuss reporting the incidents to police.