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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Krewson Fundraiser at Bartolino's Disrupted by Protest

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 7:00 AM


Protesters with the St. Louis-based Anti-Racism Collective crashed a fundraiser for mayor candidate Lyda Krewson yesterday — carrying signs that read "a vote for Lyda is a vote for systemic racism" and chanting "black lives matter."

The group issued a lengthy statement saying they objected to the fundraiser's location at Bartolino's. "Holding a fundraiser at a location where the owner has demonstrated clear bias and cronyism is the epitome of how white supremacy manifests," the statement says.

John Saracino, who is one of the owners of the south city landmark, has drawn controversy related to his interactions with the St. Louis County Police Department.

In a recent lawsuit reported on by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an openly gay police officer alleges that Saracino told him to "tone down your gayness" if he wanted to be promoted. At the time, Saracino was on the department's civilian review board.

And last January, Saracino resigned from an administrative position with the department after the P-D reported that he'd solicited letters from County Executive Steve Stenger and Police Chief Jon Belmar, urging a judge to be lenient on a nephew facing sentencing on a drug conspiracy charge.

In its statement, the collective says,
ARC chose this fundraiser as a perfect example of the type of systematic racism that pervades St. Louis and Krewson’s mayoral campaign — a racism that allows white political figures to verbally condemn discrimination but continue to uphold the white political structures that perpetuate racism in our city. For too long, Krewson and white politicians have professed progressive values and then returned to backroom deals and parties that profit the white political elite.

The group is the same one that helped publicize a Facebook post made by police union spokesman Jeff Roorda last week — a post that led to Krewson calling for Roorda to be fired.

The collective writes,
Last week, Krewson called out racist comments by the City Police business manager, Jeff Roorda, but conspicuously limited her comments to Roorda as an individual, retaining her endorsement and donations from the organization which continues to employ him. Krewson perpetuates a false narrative that Roorda is an anomaly rather than a symptom of racist policing culture in St. Louis that is devoid of accountability and whose members use the system for personal gain and political favors.
The organization describes itself as "white anti-racist activists who come together to further anti-racist organizing among progressive white activists in the St. Louis area."

See the video of the action below.

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