Many people take part in drive-thru rally to support group of black teens mistreated at Dallas Sonic
DALLAS - There was large show of support for a group of local black teens on Sunday.
There was a rally at the Sonic Drive-In near Jesuit High School in North Dallas that was organized after a group of friends said they were mistreated because of the color of their skin.
It's something the restaurant has now apologized for.
“We were coming from a graduation party celebrating our senior year, so we stopped at Sonic,” Evan Brown recalled.
Brown and Elle Grinnell were part of the group of black teens.
They said they had just started hanging out at the Sonic, and were not being disruptive, when an employee made a threat.
“We were met with a car hop who told us if we didn't leave or get back in our cars that he would have to call the police on us,” Brown said.
“That is a threat to our lives with everything that is happening in the climate of the world right now,” Grinnell added.
Evan’s mother, Shonn Brown, said she went back that evening and saw another group of kids doing the same thing, but they weren’t told to leave.
“I came back actually that evening and saw two groups of all white kids hanging out and they were not asked to leave, and certainly were not told that the police would be called on them,” she said.
Sonic released the following statement:
"Sonic deeply and sincerely apologizes to the teenagers involved in the incident. We simply must do better going forward. Sonic unequivocally opposes racism and intolerance of any kind. We celebrate diversity and strive to consistently create an environment that highly values inclusion.
Unfortunately, a recent event at our Drive-In restaurant in Dallas, Texas, was handled inappropriately and did not live up to our standards. As soon as we were alerted to the situation by the families involved, we engaged in a valuable discussion on race, equality and a deeper understanding of social justice issues and ways we can improve as a company.
Sonic deeply and sincerely apologizes to the teenagers involved in the incident. We simply must do better going forward. To that end, we are revising our policy to ensure the appropriate level of manager is involved in handling matters with our guests. We are also bolstering our training program to include consistent unconscious bias training, with a focus on the African American experience, as we foster a more inclusive environment for our team members and guests.
We thank the families involved for their productive and positive discussion and look forward to our continued conversations.”
But Shonn and other parents wanted to show it didn't just impact their children, so they organized a drive-thru rally.
“We wanted to come and show our community and our friends that we support them and what happened was wrong,” said Karen Wade.
The rally drew car after car through the Sonic parking lot.
“When our kids had this really negative experience at Sonic, we were concerned about not only showing that this impacted them, but this impacted their community,” Shonn added.
And that community support left an impression on the teens too.
“It's overwhelming. Indescribable. Insane. I thought we would have support, but not like this,” the teens said. “This is crazy.”
It showed there is a community of people who want everyone to feel welcome, everywhere.
“It's not just seven teens and a couple of parents, it is the entire community that would like change,” Evan said.
Sonic said its changed its policy to ensure the appropriate manager handles guest interactions.
FOX4 asked about disciplinary actions, and a spokesperson said the employee involved in the incident has been counseled.
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