Target: Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane
Goal: Drop all charges against the cafeteria worker who smashed a racist window panel depicting slavery.
A Yale cafeteria worker broke a window panel described as racist and degrading and now faces a felony charge for something that should have been done decades ago. Yale has come under fire in the past for these stained glass window panels depicting idealized scenes of slavery including one showing a black slave kneeling at a slave master’s feet.
The incident occurred at the Calhoun College, a residential dorm at Yale University, named for slave owner and enthusiastic slavery advocate John C. Calhoun. Students pressured the school to change the name of the dorm last year, but the University refused. In addition to the celebration of this man, the white-dominated college has numerous slavery-themed paintings, artifacts, and tiles around the campus.
Cafeteria worker and black man Corey Menafee finally became fed up with having to see a window tile depicting slaves working in a cotton field every day and, on impulse, used his broom to break it. He’s now facing a misdemeanor “reckless endangerment” charge and a first-degree felony charge of “criminal mischief.”
Nobody should face criminal charges for breaking a window panel that’s so clearly offensive, and the University itself has said it doesn’t intend to pursue charges. However, Menafee is still facing charges that could land him up to seven years in prison. This is a ridiculous amount of time for an action that hurt no one and simply broke a panel that nobody liked. Sign our petition to demand that all charges against Menafee be dropped.
Dear Mr. Kane,
Corey Menafee, a cafeteria worker at the Calhoun College at Yale University, has been charged with reckless endangerment and felony criminal mischief for breaking a racist window panel at the college that depicted an idealized scene of slavery including black slaves laboring in a cotton field. These charges are outrageous and should not be pursued.
Menafee is a black man who had to see this racist panel every time he came to work in a college named after a slave owner. It’s disgusting that this panel was left up for so long. He simply acted on impulse after so many years of Yale refusing to act to remove these kinds of references to and celebrations of slavery in America. Yale itself does not want to push charges. We implore you to ensure all charges against Menafee are dropped immediately and that he is left in peace.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: orythys