First I would like to thank the River Cities' Reader for confirming what so many members of the minority community suspected for some time. Your article "Fashion Police on the Beat in QC Clubs," published in the January 3-9 edition (Issue 304), bears witness to the fact that the dress codes that are displayed in the windows and walls of these nightclubs eerily resemble signs posted 40 years ago: No Coloreds Allowed.
We as a community understand the need to protect. When the need to protect leads to exclusion, then we have a problem. In particular, a problem with the rules of Mr. Bruce Leachman, owner of O'Malley's in the District of Rock Island and the root of many complaints.
As a business professional, who also happens to wear FUBU, Starter, etc., I am upset, irritated, frustrated, and confused. Having been to the District on occasion and specifically O'Malley's, I don't understand how one can encourage the atmosphere with the sounds of Jay-Z, Outkast, and Mystikal, yet discourage patrons because of their attire.
Let this letter be a wake-up call to anyone who finds it necessary to profile, I mean "protect." According to the Illinois Department of Human Rights, discrimination in public accommodation is prohibited, against the law, wrong! And if my mind serves me correctly, segregation has been prohibited in the U.S. since the mid-1960s.
As we the minority become the majority nationwide, know that these practices will no longer be tolerated. If they do continue, the only sign in your window will be "closed." In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., "We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force."
Once again I thank the River Cities' Reader for having the integrity to publish an article that is definitely an eye-opener for this reader and anyone who will listen to me. I am not a gang-prevention specialist, gang member, psychiatrist, or even a rebel. I am a human being who knows when wrong is wrong.
President, Community Pride
Editor's note: Bruce Leachman has said that he was misquoted in the Reader article on club dress codes, and we have offered him a forum in which to respond to the story and to this letter, which he had not done at press time. Author Mike Richardson stands by Leachman's quotes.