Glen-Deli

HATE CRIMES IN GLENDALE Prompt action

THE WHITE PLACE TO DO BUSINESS

Laurette Yates, owner of the Glen-Deli at 204 ½ Brand Boulevard, had her establishment vandalized with derogatory graffiti. This  happened frequently, twice a month for almost a year. At a certain point, Yates gave up on trying to clean the vulgar words off the doors of her deli. Some marks stayed written for three weeks before an anti-graffiti worker came to clean it. On top of the vandalism, there were incidents where passersby hollered racial slurs at her, twice weekly. One patron dined in the deli and refused to pay for his sandwich. This refusal to pay was based on her race. One night Yates found her tires slashed. “I had no idea Glendale was like this,” she said.  

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Yates first opened a delicatessen on 9th and Hill streets in Downtown Los Angeles. They moved the business to Brand Boulevard because “we thought Glendale would be a good place to do business.” The Glen-Deli opened in October, and in February the graffiti and slurs began.  Yates did not report the incidents to Glendale Police because she was too shocked, and didn’t think much could be done about it. The graffiti would be counted as a misdemeanor charge,  since spewing racial epithets was not a crime, and there was not a single suspect to look into. Yates had never faced

discrimination of this kind before. “I thought it was very nice here. (Racism) was the farthest thing from my mind. I grew up in Montreal, Canada. I never had to face this till I came to Glendale.” 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE IN GLENDALE

The Mayor of Glendale, Larry Zarian, responded about the incidents at Glen-Deli in the Glendale News-Press. Mayor Zarian, while saddened about the racist acts against Laurette Yates, stood by his belief that these incidents did not represent Glendale. He was heartened by the strong sense of community the residents of Glendale showed, and hoped for them to see that the vandalism was noticed because it was such an unusual occurrence in town. “It was an event so out of the norm for Glendale that it made news…if such prejudice were a real reflection of Glendale life and attitudes graffiti on a restaurant wall would have gone unnoticed by anyone but the proprietor.”  

A letter in the publication the following week from a community member, Michael E. McGlothen, challenged the mayor. McGlothen, a Black bank employee, had won a discrimination suit against a Glendale landlord who refused to rent him an apartment. In August of that year, McGlothen went to rent an apartment in Glendale, and was told it was unavailable. He then sent a Latino co-worker to inquire about the room, and the woman told the co-worker they could move in immediately. McGlothen won a $1,000 settlement in the discrimination complaint.  When he told one of his co-workers about the incident, they responded, “Welcome to Glendale.”

In his response letter in the paper, McGlothen expressed his feeling about Glendale not being accessible to African Americans, and that racism was alive in Glendale as it was in other cities. McGlothen pointed to the fact that he had been unable to locate a rental property in the city, and attributed that to his race. The editor added a note below his letter, refuting this by saying that Laurette Yates’s case was proof that Glendale was accessible to African Americans, almost forgetting the string of events that led to the printing of that the letter. 

REFORMING THE GLENDALE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

Glen-Deli

HATE CRIMES IN GLENDALE Prompt action

THE WHITE PLACE TO DO BUSINESS

Laurette Yates, owner of the Glen-Deli at 204 ½ Brand Boulevard, had her establishment vandalized with derogatory graffiti. This  happened frequently, twice a month for almost a year. At a certain point, Yates gave up on trying to clean the vulgar words off the doors of her deli. Some marks stayed written for three weeks before an anti-graffiti worker came to clean it. On top of the vandalism, there were incidents where passersby hollered racial slurs at her, twice weekly. One patron dined in the deli and refused to pay for his sandwich. This refusal to pay was based on her race. One night, Yates found her tires slashed. “I had no idea Glendale was like this,” she said.  

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Yates first opened a delicatessen on 9th and Hill streets in Downtown Los Angeles. She moved the business to Brand Boulevard because “we thought Glendale would be a good place to do business.” The Glen-Deli opened in October, and in February the graffiti and slurs began.  Yates did not report the incidents to Glendale Police because she was too shocked, and didn’t think much could be done about it. The graffiti would be counted as a misdemeanor charge, since spewing racial epithets was not a crime, and there were no suspects. Yates had never faced discrimination of this kind before. “I thought it was very nice here. (Racism) was the farthest thing from my mind. I grew up in Montreal, Canada. I never had to face this till I came to Glendale.”  

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE IN GLENDALE

The Mayor of Glendale, Larry Zarian, responded about the incidents at Glen-Deli in the Glendale News-Press. Mayor Zarian, while saddened about the racist acts against Laurette Yates, stood by his belief that these incidents did not represent Glendale. He was heartened by the strong sense of community the residents of Glendale showed, and hoped for them to see that the vandalism was noticed because it was such an unusual occurrence in town. “It was an event so out of the norm for Glendale that it made news…if such prejudice were a real reflection of Glendale life and attitudes graffiti on a restaurant wall would have gone unnoticed by anyone but the proprietor.”  

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McGlothenLetter001 copy.jpg

A letter in the publication the following week from a community member, Michael E. McGlothen, challenged the mayor. McGlothen, a Black bank employee, had won a discrimination suit against a Glendale landlord who refused to rent him an apartment. In August of that year, McGlothen went to rent an apartment in Glendale, and was told it was unavailable. He then sent a Latino co-worker to inquire about the room, and the woman told the co-worker they could move in immediately. McGlothen won a $1,000 settlement in the discrimination complaint.  When he told one of his co-workers about the incident, they responded, “Welcome to Glendale.”

In his response letter in the paper, McGlothen expressed his feeling about Glendale not being accessible to African Americans, and that racism was alive in Glendale as it was in other cities. McGlothen pointed to the fact that he had been unable to locate a rental property in the city, and attributed that to his race. The editor added a note below McGlothen’s letter (rare in the Letters to the Editor sections of newspapers), stating that Laurette Yates’s case was proof that Glendale was accessible to African-Americans. Laurette Yates’s harassment is far from being a good example of community accessibility. 

The following February, Laurette Yates and the Glen-Deli had moved on from Brand Boulevard and Glendale. The new owner of that property, Navaratnam Nandakumaran, faced the continuation of racist graffiti left on the doors and walls. He left the vandalism up for five days because he wanted everyone to see this incident made there as a cowardly act. It wasn’t until an angry patron called the police that it was reported. 

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REFORMING THE GLENDALE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

The Glendale Human Rights Council (GHRC) began in 1963 after President John F. Kennedy called for community organizations to work for racial harmony during a time of social unrest. As the civil rights movement faded into the background, the group was no longer active. The GHRC was reactivated in the mid-1980s to deal with an increase in racial issues that were effecting residents and business owners in Glendale, one of which was racially-motivated vandalism. 

Geri Brown, owner of WWB Bowling Supply, began pushing to re-establish the GHRC in response to the incidents at Glen-Deli. She told the Los Angeles Times that she “felt brushed aside when officials assured her that the Yates’ experience was isolated and that such racially motivated attacks rarely occur in Glendale.”  

Campbell, R. H. (1986, Nov 13) (1)_Page_

In 1988, the Police Department put into place an order on “Crimes Motivated by Race, Religion, Ethnicity, or Sexual Orientation.” The order, which is still in effect today, makes it department policy to: 

take a proactive role in promoting peace and harmony within the community, and in ensuring that rights guaranteed by state laws and the U.S. Constitution are protected for all citizens regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.  When such rights are infringed upon by violence, intimidation, threats or other harassment, the Department will use every necessary resource to rapidly and decisively identify the perpetrators, arrest them, and bring them before the court. 

Geri Brown would be part of re-starting the GHRC in response to the many incidents of racist harassment, and the GHRC would focus on offering support and guidance to victims of racism.  Brown would receive a distinguished volunteer award from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 1988 for her work as the president of the GHRC. She told the Los Angeles Times, “In the beginning, we were told that Glendale doesn’t have a problem... But I knew we were doing the right thing.” 

In 1990, Glendale Police Chief David Thompson has honored by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations for the departments work on investigating and arresting people responsible for hate crimes.   

Copyright notice: Any materials under copyright in this exhibit are covered by the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act.  Permission and preferred attribution were requested of all copyright holders.

Citations:

 

Willman, Martha L. "Police, Panel Probe Racial Slurs Against Deli Owner." Los Angeles Times, 7 Aug. 1986. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

Chavez, Carlos. Laurette Yates, seated, and her daughter, Michelle, say they’ve had racial slurs shouted at them. Image. "Police, Panel Probe Racial Slurs Against Deli Owner." Los Angeles Times, 7 Aug. 1986. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

Swearinger, Richard F. "Racism May Force Eatery Closure." Glendale News-Press, 30 July 1986. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

Zarian, Larry. “Bigotry Out of Place in Glendale.” Glendale News-Press, 26 Aug. 1986. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. 

McGlothen, Michael E. “Prejudice in Glendale.” Letter to the Editor. Glendale News-Press, 3 Sept. 1986. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. 

Wood, Dolores. "Racist Vandals Defied: New Operator of Deli Calls Graffiti 'Cowardly Act'." Daily News, February 12, 1987. Reprinted by permission of Southern California News Group. 

Campbell, Rory H. “Panel to Ease Racial Tension Reborn; Time Deemed Ripe.” Los Angeles Times. 13 Nov 1986. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021. 

 

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH: 

“Chief Honored for Fight Against Hate Crimes.” Los Angeles Times, [Los Angeles, Calif], 01 Nov 1990: GJ7. ProQuest.  

“Local News in Brief : Volunteer Honored for Combatting Racism.” Los Angeles Times, 21 April 1988, p. 12. ProQuest.  

"Racial Slur Results in Jail Term for Terrorism." Los Angeles Times, 11 Jun, 1987, pp. 1. ProQuest

Stirton, Timothy. “Hate-Crimes in Glendale.” L.A. Weekly, p. 8, 6 Aug, 1987. Newspapers.com. Accessed 22 Feb. 2021.