Initial Plan To Name Cafe 'The Sit In' Causes Controversy

Posted at 5:53 PM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-11 19:14:22-04

The Civil Rights Movement was a time of resilience for African Americans who fought to be treated equally, but a great pain comes from that fight. Now, a brand new cafe opening on Jefferson Street has been causing controversy.

"Words speak volumes," said Sharon Hurt, CEO of Jefferson Street United Merchant Partnership.

One business owner learned just how much impact words can have. The owner of Bongo Java coffeehouse, Bob Bernstein is opening a cafe on Jefferson Street. Bernstein was hoping to call it The Sit In.

"In my opinion, it is not necessarily the best name for it, and I've got some members who are not excited about that name," said Hurt.

Hurt is just one of many people in the community who had some concerns about the name.

People like Dr. Amos Jones, who lived through the Civil Rights Movement, are indifferent on the name of The Sit In, but believe the name should serve a purpose.

"Remind people who come to that restaurant of the struggle we had, the pain we experienced, the blood we shed, the tears we cried," said Dr. Jones.

It's important to be reminded of the past, but the overwhelming outcry from the community is now leaving Bernstein with second thoughts on the name of his new cafe.

"Having that name takes us back to what we were, not to where we are going and where we are meant to be," said Hurt.

Bernstein declined an on-camera interview, but said he will be changing the name of the business. He added he welcomes input from the community on new name suggestions.