Ex-Xmas in the Park Vendors Allege Racial Discrimination

A couple years back, newly appointed leader of Christmas in the Park Jason Minsky raised hackles by calling the cops on a flock of food trucks that set up shop without permission outside the holiday fair. This season, the nonprofit’s decision to ditch a few longtime vendors has drawn charges of racism. Abraham Teferi, Kassim Kadiro and Hewan Ayele have been circulating an online petition against what they call Minsky’s “blatant discrimination” by excluding them from the food vendor lineup this year. “It’s because we are black,” Teferi told Fly, hinting at legal action. “That’s not true at all,” countered Minsky, who added that some vendors didn’t make the cut because the nonprofit board wanted more sophisticated fare than hot links and funnel cakes, which Teferi, Kariro and Ayele have been selling at the annual event for nearly three decades. The seven food vendors who were chosen represent a diverse range of ethnicities, including African American, Minsky said. Last week, Mayor Sam Liccardo and Vice Mayor Rose Herrera met with the jilted vendors, Minsky and San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP president Jethroe Moore. The city sided with Minsky and offered the trio of erstwhile cooks a spot outside the Christmas fair, which they declined. Discriminatory or not, Moore said, event organizers should have been more mindful of how their action came across. “As a black man, that’s not something you want to hear: that you have to stay outside the gate,” he said. “There ought to be a higher standard of cultural sensitivity.” Instead of denying the application outright, Moore added, there could have been a chance to negotiate a new menu with small business owners who helped cultivate the event in its early years. Regardless of the dispute, Moore said, Christmas in the Park should try harder as a nonprofit to diversify its leadership.

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  1. It is Christmas in the park. The vendors have been successful for so many years because kids like hotlinks and funnel cakes. Nothing is worse than going to a “family” event and finding only fusion and food so sophisticated no 5 year old will touch it.

  2. Jethroe should reread the story of the boy who cried wolf too often. Every time one of these stories is framed in the context of a racial slight, despite a myriad of other possible reasons for being denied a permit, it turns public tide against them, and causes a legitimate case to be lost in the cesspool of ridiculousness. My kids want funnel cake and hot chocolate at Xmas in the Park – not couscous or fried plantain.

  3. Who would have guessed.

    The government can’t pull off a Christian festival without causing an ugly and divisive food fight.

    Maybe we should just turn it over to Christians and let those who want to celebrate Kwanzaa have their politically correct pageantry in St. James Park.

  4. As an investor in treatment centers serving diabetics and the obese I object to the city’s racially-insensitive ruling against vendors serving these beloved and important food items.

  5. Mayor Sam Liccardo seems to have a love-hate relationship with the NAACP. During his primary campaign, he ran at least one two-parter TV ad. The first part lambasted white guys by showing a phony version of their celebrating the voters’ approval of a bond issue. That was just bigoted on his part.

    The second part was his walking the sidewalks with a high-ranking NAACP official, laughing and enjoying their stroll. Now we see he needs schooling by the current NAACP president.

    So is he sensitive to any community’s cultural diversity, or does he make it up as he goes along?

    He does need to clean up that ad which purported to smear diverse white Americans as greedy and careless with the city’s well-being. Bonds always cost twice to pay back as the amount borrowed which makes PAYG (pay as you go) very attractive.

  6. Kicked off the wine train for being loud and obnoxious is also racism now. If you are black and you don’t like an outcome, just cry racism. Give me a “blanking” break.

  7. I got chance to chat with these guys who used to pay big tax for the city of San Jose for close three decades. A lot of people including my self, think Mr. Minsky decision is unjust for the core reason that he did not give these guys to change their food menu or inquire them to sell other stuffs before he dislodge them from the vendor line of Christmas in the park.

  8. I think the city of San Jose needs to scrutinize the unjust decision and make fair decision as long as these guys are paying big chunk of their income to the cit of San Jose.

  9. In my judgment, by any standard Mr. Min sky decision is ambiguous because his decision is not support by any genuine fact. He did not even offer these guys a chance to sell other stuffs before he pull them out from the spot they used to sell for thirty years. It sounds that he did it to benefit the people of his kind You may put foreign object or creature to your moth but not easy to swallow.

  10. I believe the city of San Jose, and Major Sam Liccardo need to reconsider, and must reverse the illegitimate, and injustice decision over the two citizen tax payers, Christmas park venders; and bring those two venders, “Abraham Teferi, and his partner Kasim” back to the 30 years Christmas park spot.

    Major Sam Liccardo, the two Christmas venders are tax payers, and they have families depend on them.
    Mr. Major Sam Liccardo, as long as Abraham Teferi, and Kasim follow, and abide by the city of San Jose rules, and regulations, legitimately the city council, and Major office should be recognize them well, and stand up beside Abraham, and Kasim; and also the Christmas manager must reconsider, and give to them back their Christmas park spot vending place immediately.

    Enough racial movement, and target tax payer venders.

    Thank you

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