Members of the “Never 21” protest group surprised patrons at one of Manhattan’s poshest restaurants.
Protesters with a group called Never 21 invaded the 21 Club—a high-end Manhattan restaurant once frequented by the likes of John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra and Ernest Hemingway—with dessert menus that listed the names of young black boys who were killed by police violence last Friday. Dressed up as waiters, the Never 21 activists visited each table with a menu that bore the names of Kimani Grey (16 years old), Cameron Tillman (14 years old), and Tamir Rice (12 years old), among others. They also hung up signs outside the club spelling out the words “Black Lives Matter”. In a previous action, Never 21 highjacked the display-window of a Forever 21 store by dressing all the mannequins in Black Lives Matter t-shirts.
In an interview with Hyperallergic, they explained their mission:
“One of the main driving forces behind why we’re doing what we’re doing is the fact that black children are being dehumanized and painted in a way that makes them appear older and more aggressive than they actually are. They did that with the murder of 13-year-old Tamir Rice, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, 18-year-old Mike Brown, etc. The number 21 is significant to us because it forces people to remember how young these kids were, and to face that simple fact that police officers are killing children and getting away with it.”
According to Animal NYC, one patron flung his menu to the table, saying, “I’m not racist. I don’t need this.” Another customer jokingly ordered “the VonDerrit Meyers Jr.” (Meyers, 18 years old, was shot by St. Louis last October).