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A national restaurant chain with a notorious reputation for discriminating against Black patrons has established an initiative championing social change while also donating millions of dollars to further the cause.

Denny’s, which is less than a year removed from its latest incident of racially profiling Black customers, was set to launch its Community Alliance Initiative on Thursday in part with contributions totaling more than $3 million, civil rights attorney Ben Crump said in a press release.

A portion of the $3.3 million being donated by Denny’s will help provide scholarships to students at the Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice at the St. Thomas College of Law as well as benefit the NAACP and the Urban League, according to the press release.

According to Denny’s: “Under the Community banner, Denny’s will allocate a total of $3.3 million for a multi-year commitment to its partners and support organizations to deploy local initiatives in cities and towns across the nation. These efforts include serving hot meals to underserved neighborhoods and groups via the Denny’s Mobile Relief Diner (MRD), which operates as a fully functional kitchen on wheels and travels across the nation, enhancing charitable giving programs, natural disasters, and emergency relief efforts.”

Denny’s Community Alliance Initiative includes a partnership between Crump, civil rights organizations, nonprofit groups and the restaurant chain. The collaborative initiative is “dedicated to social change and forging strong alliances with advocates,” the press release said.

Crump was expected to be joined in announcing the initiative by Denny’s CEO and President Kelli Valade, Denny’s Board Chair Brenda Lauderback, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and Benjamin L. Crump College of Law Dean Tarlika Nunez-Navarro, among others.

“With the establishment of Denny’s Community initiative, we are continuing our work to connect with our guests and others in our communities,” Valade said in a statement sent to NewsOne. “Our partners are the embodiment of service and how to prioritize equity. We are honored to create this alliance that will impact and address challenges facing our society while breaking barriers to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world for all.”

“We are grateful for corporations like Denny’s that recognize the vital importance of unity,” Crump said. “We are honored to collaborate with leaders in this new alliance and are grateful to Denny’s for the scholarship support, which will help educate the social justice leaders of tomorrow, keeping the mission of equity and justice alive for decades to come.”

“The NAACP has been proud to partner with Denny’s for the last three decades, working collectively towards a more diverse corporate America,” Johnson said. “The Community initiative is a crucial investment in those who have invested in the growth and success of the Denny’s brand. We are excited to continue this journey together, executing the vision of a more equitable and just society for all.”

A legacy Of racial profiling and discrimination at Denny’s

Missing from the announcement of Denny’s Community Alliance Initiative was any mention of why the collaborative was being formed or the restaurant chain’s enduring decades-long legacy of racial discrimination.

Most recently, two Black truckers last August recorded their interaction with a waitress at a Denny’s location in South Dakota where they were repeatedly refused service and criminalized by having the police called on them by management over false claims of intimidation about would-be customers who said they simply wanted to eat and pay for their meals.

Denny’s quickly launched an investigation but notably did not issue an apology.

Instead, Denny’s said in an email to NewsOne that it “has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to discrimination at all Denny’s locations” and insisted that its restaurants “embrace diversity and foster an inclusive environment where every guest feels welcome.”

Denny’s seemingly earned its unshakable reputation for racism more than 30 years ago when six Black Secret Service agents filed a federal discrimination suit claiming one of its restaurants in Annapolis, Maryland, refused to serve them.

At the time in 1993, Denny’s and the NAACP signed a Fair Share Agreement to provide minorities with greater employment and business opportunities throughout the company.

The incident in Annapolis became so notoriously well-known in popular culture that the renowned jazz musician Branford Marsalis (under the stage name Buckshot LeFonque) released a hip-hop-fused song called “Breakfast at Denny’s” the following year.

Since then, at least eight other such incidents have taken place at various Denny’s locations across the country, including what happened in South Dakota.


George Floyd’s Uncle Rips Denny’s For Refusing To Serve Black Men In Viral Incident: ‘Racism Is Still Very Real’

A Timeline Of Denny’s Racially Profiling And Discriminating

The post Denny’s Launches Social Change Initiative, Donates Millions Amid Enduring Racial Profiling Legacy appeared first on NewsOne.

Denny’s Launches Social Change Initiative, Donates Millions Amid Enduring Racial Profiling Legacy  was originally published on

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