The term “Sambo” is a long-standing racial insult with roots dating back to an 1899 book about a dark-skinned South Indian boy. The name became an epithet against African Americans.
The restaurant sign was covered, at least temporarily, with a peace sign, an ampersand and the word “love” for Peace and Love.
“Our family has looked into our hearts and realizes that we must be sensitive when others whom we respect make a strong appeal,” published the owners. “So today we are in solidarity with those who seek change and do our part in the best possible way.”
Owner Chad Stevens said its founders – his grandfather Sam Battistone and business partner Newell “Bo” Bohnett – formed the name of the restaurant from parts of their names.
Stevens agreed to change the name after hearing the resident Rashelle Monet.
“Even if it doesn’t come from a bad place, it’s still a very painful term for many people,” said Monet. “I understand it wasn’t intentional. I’m not saying Sambo and the owners are racist. I’m saying jargon is racist.”
Stevens said it’s the right time to change.
“With the current environment of our country, we must unite and, as the sign says, peace and love,” he said.
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