Demonstrators asked the “British Colonial” café, located in the historically African-American area of North Williams Avenue in Portland, to change its name and to discontinue its plantation-themed drinks during a protest on Saturday.
“We will NOT accept the glorification of colonialism in our community, particularly in a neighborhood that has a painful legacy of black & brown folks being displaced,” reads the Facebook event page for the protest.
Organized by activist Stephanie Dunx, the protest was scheduled to meet at In Other Words bookstore on North Killingsworth at 2 pm today. From the bookstore, says the event page, a march is planned down North Williams Avenue to Saffron’s location for a 2:30 pm protest at the restaurant, where Dunx will present Saffron with an open letter with demands.
(READ MORE: Willamette Week)
Saffron Colonial owner Sally Krants defended the name of her café.
“For me, it’s about the cultural melding of food around the world, focusing on how England has transformed and affected cuisine where they’ve been present, be it America, India or Sri Lanka,” she said. “It’s about good coffee, tea, craft cocktails and good food with local ingredients.”
…The North Williams Avenue corridor that Saffron Colonial calls home was once a hub of African American life in Portland. Over the past decade, new restaurants, grocery stores and mixed-used developments have moved in, replacing black-owned businesses on Williams and its sister street, Vancouver Avenue. The cafe’s location struck some critics as particularly tone deaf.
“A lot of people are confused,” Krantz said. “Colonial is used on a lot of things: to describe a period of time with food, architecture and literature…It seems like some people have confused that word with American slavery.”
(READ MORE: Oregon Live)