INDIANAPOLIS -- Two men opening a new business on Indianapolis’ east side say racist notes and other forms of harassment have only given them more motivation to push forward with their opening.
Sami Ali and Tony Jones plan to open their business, "Lvl Up Bar and Lounge," on the corner of Washington and Johnson streets in Irvington later this year.
They say it will be a place where people of all ages can come to play video games.
They also plan to have a section for adults to be able to enjoy craft beers and wine.
“I want to break the social media barrier,” Ali said. “Have people come and be together to play video games, have a drink, stuff like that.”
The business is a dream for the two men, who say they were shocked when someone left a note on their door that reads: “Close Shop, We don’t support black business owners.”
“I’m Puerto Rican and Arabic. And some local business owners have approached myself and my business partners with negativity,” Ali said in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “I hope that everyone soon sees past the fact that I’m brown and I have tattoos. … Because all we want to do is open a fun place for everyone.”
People have shown their support since the men shared that note.
Haley Johnson, who lives in Irvington, said the note is unacceptable.
"It's not OK -- at all," Johnson said. "It's not what we stand for here. We're very inclusive. We love this neighborhood."
Ali and Jones hope to open their new business sometime in September.
"The outpour of support from the Irvington community has been greatly appreciated,” Jones said. “You can’t block and you can’t stop people’s hate but love can always trump that. We do appreciate the people of Irvington.”
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