January 28, 2022
From Liberation News

A humble Chula Vista, California establishment called Brew Bar faces ongoing harassment and hate crimes carried out by white supremacists. Now, after four years of business, Brew Bar is on the verge of closing after the corporation that owns its lease of operations chose to liquidate the establishment. 

Brew Bar must come up with $100,000 by the end of January to buy the space out or be evicted. A community fundraising event was held at Brew Bar on Jan. 15 to help the business meet this threshold. Supporters from the community attended the fundraiser and continue to stand with Brew Bar.

Back in December, a video posted by TikTok user HeyThisIsDrey surfaced of Howard Freelove, a known white nationalist, and participant in the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, entering Brew Bar shouting profanities, harassing customers and breaking the entrance door. Freelove was enraged by the Black Lives Matter sign located on the property. 

Bolero night continued at Brew Bar after racist harasser Freelove left. Screenshot from TikTok user HeyThisIsDrey

Since December two more hate crimes occurred. The most recent took place on Jan. 20. 

After the La Mesa uprising — which was sparked by the assault of Amaurie Johnson by then police officer Matt Dages — many businesses in Chula Vista began boarding up their storefronts. Brew Bar owner, Alex McDaniel hesitated to completely board up his business.

Liberation News spoke at length with McDaniel on Jan. 23. 

“If I’m putting a board in front of my window, what does that mean to the person that is literally out there standing up for whatever they feel is right or wrong?” McDaniel asked rhetorically.

He opted to board up the front door and create two signs in solidarity. The signs read “Black Lives Matter” and “Small Business for Racial Justice.”

“It was so important for me to create a space that would not, sort of, shrink away from social issues the way that so many other businesses and companies do.” McDaniel has kept both signs up since the La Mesa uprising.

As previously mentioned, Howard Freelove’s was the first documented display of agitation against Brew Bar. Two more white nationalists took issue with Brew Bar’s display of solidarity. On Jan. 20, a 34-year-old man arrived at Brew Bar waving a “Let’s Go Brandon” flag while shouting homophobic slurs and other expletives. McDaniel contacted the police regarding these events, but they did not take any action.

After the hate crimes, some people encouraged McDaniel to take down his signs in order to “boost business” and “avoid” any altercations with racists. However, McDaniel remains determined to continue expressing support for the anti-racist movement: “The fact is it’s not over, it’s still an issue on many levels.”

According to Sandag.org, since 2020, in Chula Vista, there were increases in hate crimes attributed to race. In 2020, of the 89 documented offenses, “66% were described as violent, which included 22 acts of intimidation, 19 simple assaults, 15 aggravated assaults, and 3 robberies. The rest (34%) were property-related and included 29 incidents of destruction or damaging of property in some way, including vandalism, and 1 involved arson.”

You can help keep Brew Bar open by donating to their GoFundMe.

Featured image: The front of Brew Bar at night time. Liberation photo

Source: Liberationnews.org