Let that sink in.
A train, basically dedicated to getting people inebriated accused a group of women – who paid their green money for this excursion – of being too loud and offending other passengers.
Last time I checked, “loud” was par for the course when it comes to drinking. It’s pretty much what people do. Get drunk. Get loose. Get loud.
The only problem? This was a group of Black women on a predominantly white train riding through Wine Country. Yes, there was one white woman in the Sistahs group, but she was guilty by association.
In a classic case of “lets single out Black women because they’re Black”, the train’s manager took it upon herself to ask the Sistahs to lower their voices and then returned, warning them that they’d be kicked off the train if they didn’t “pipe down”.
Sidebar: I didn’t know it was okay for grown women to tell other grown women to “pipe down” in 2016.
But I digress.
After delivering her second warning, the manager, Anna Marquinn made good on her threat. Halfway through the trip, the Sistahs were ordered off the train, perp walked through all six cars of the train (because that’s necessary right), and handed over to a police officer from the Napa Valley Railroad.
You already know the other passengers were smirking, snickering, and nudging each other as it went down. Not because they were petty, but because they were racist. For those of y’all that thought California was progressive….nope.
To add insult to injury, an undisclosed member of the wine train staff took to Facebook to post this PR disaster of a message:
(photo courtesy of Lisa Johnson, a Sistahs Facebook)
Did you catch that? They all but alleged the Sistahs got physical with the wine train staff. Right. We just gonna give that the Wacka Flocka “ok.” side eye and keep it moving. Then, someone from Napa Wine Train got smart and took the post down. #butscreenshotsliveforever
The fallout on the Napa Wine Train’s Yelp was epic, and a total win for the internet, with some witnesses to the event calling exactly what it was – racism and white supremacy. The hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack was birthed on social media, in support and solidarity with the book club. But the Sistahs didn’t stop there. They filed an 11 MILLION dollar lawsuit against the owners of the train, and had their day in court.
While they didn’t get the full $11M (which would have been sweet, $1M for every Sistah), they came to an undisclosed settlement during private mediation on April 20th, 2016.
We at 4cHairChick salute the Sistahs on the Reading Edge for sticking together, standing beautifully for their rights as people (period), and moving forward with grace, poise, and dignity. Often times, when we talk about beauty here or on social media, we’re highlighting outward beauty. The inner beauty possessed by the Sistahs is that of knowing their self-worth, and protecting it. We praise them for the same reason we praise the same reason we praise you – for knowing your true value and worth, and not being defined by society’s limited perception of you.