On June 19, the small, rural, predominantly white town of Sequim Washington will host its first ever Juneteenth celebration and rally celebrating the historic emancipation of our Black brothers and sisters. Evoking that historic spirit of struggle, we will also be protesting racism, xenophobia and all forms of hate rearing its ugly head right here in the Lavender capital of America.
In light of a recent racist and xenophobic attack on local immigrant business owners by the owners and employees of Blondie’s Plate restaurant, previous Blondie’s employees and patrons are calling for the community to gather downtown at Washington St and Sequim Ave. They will rally there and march to Blondie’s Plate restaurant for a picket and a speakout. Organizers call upon fellow Sequim community members to boycott Blondie’s Plate restaurant and any business owned by Josh Armstrong, current owner of Blondie’s Plate as well as Olympic Coast Construction and US Work Boats.
Racist incident involving Blondie’s Plate
On the evening of June 12 in downtown Sequim, Washington, after a long day of work, an immigrant woman walked to her car in a parking lot shared by two other businesses. She found her driver side door blocked in by another car to the point where she had to crawl into her car from the passenger side. When she tried to back out, she realized an employee of Blondie’s Plate restaurant was blocking her in. The woman’s husband and son were forced to come to her defense. The Blondie’s Plate employee ran inside giggling only to return with a cell phone and more employees to record and mock the family’s accents and ethnicity.
At this point, one of the Blondie’s Plate employees pulled a knife on the son and father and demanded they get off the property. This was followed by more ethnic and racial slurs, calling the family “immigrants” as if that was an insult, telling them that they were in America now and had to “follow his words” or get out of “his country” and come back when they became citizens, which all of them already are. The police arrived and the employees ran back inside to the safety of the restaurant. No one was arrested at the scene. This account of events, initially related by the family on social media, has been confirmed by other eyewitnesses.
The owner of Blondie’s, Josh Armstrong, claimed on Facebook that this is an isolated incident over a parking spot and nothing more. The community isn’t letting him get away with it. He has a long history of this type of behavior and Sequim has had it with this bigotry. The community has come out with testimonials, a laundry list of complaints and accounts of sexual harassment, racist, xenophobic, homophobic attacks on his staff, patrons and other community members. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media accounts are littered with calls to #boycottBlondies and for Josh Armstrong to resign as owner and for Claire, the General Manager to resign as well.
“We know this goes deeper than just one isolated incident over parking,” said Carlos Osorio, the former Chef and Manager of Blondie’s Plate under the previous owner, Kim McDougal.
“He made unwanted advances on his employees and some of the customers in front of a full dining room as well as drop the N-word like it was no big deal,” Osorio also explained.
Osorio added that when he was there, the kitchen was full of pro-LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, Indigenous stickers, posters and literature. “Josh banned all that,” said Osorio. “He painted over all the BLM stickers and graffiti and Pro LGBT/Trans materials the ex-staff had posted up and replaced it with a large sign that read ‘Absolutely LOTS of Hate Speech Welcome Here.’ ”
Sequim community members disagree and say that absolutely NO hate speech is welcome in Sequim. Shut down racism! Shut down White Supremacy! Everywhere!
In our town of Sequim, we welcome ALL members of the international working class! Come join us June 19 at 6 pm where we will march a block to Blondie’s Plate and hear testimony from some of the people abused by Joshua Armstrong. Help us hold racists accountable.
Feature image: Liberation graphic of Blondie’s Plate (left) and owner Josh Armstrong (right).
Correction: According to a letter from Taro Kusunose of law firm Lasher, Holzapfel, Sperry and Ebberson, representing Brix Marine, Josh Armstrong does not own Brix. We stand corrected.