Our Response to Touche’s 45th Anniversary

ONYX Midwest would like to address what happened at Touche’s 45th Anniversary Party on 11/1/2022. Before doing so we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all that have chosen to support our mission and to speak out on our behalf. We want you to know that your support was seen and felt – Miguel Torres (MCL 2014), George White (MCL 2022), Cris Bleaux, Gerald Cernak (MCL 2017) and Mike Geier. The outpouring has been fulfilling as it is evidence of the work we have and continue to execute to affirm our standing in the community.


THE ONYX MIDWEST APPROACH


ONYX Midwest is membership-driven, rather than leadership-driven. As such our organization makes sure to take enough time to gather the feedback from all our members before making decisions, so that we can speak with a unified voice. We ask you not to make assumptions about the length of time it has taken us to respond publicly. The injured party should never be in any hurry to respond. More importantly we wanted to make sure we allowed our membership the time and space to grieve and process what has happened. The violation was so strong as to essentially erase our existence in the bar, as people of color, trans siblings, and women. 

We certainly would never expect to experience something so devastating in the year 2022, especially in our home bar.


THE ONYX MIDWEST RESPONSE


Specifically we condemn the following:

  • Racism
  • Misogyny
  • Sexism
  • Reinforcing old, demoralizing, discriminatory, dehumanizing and unspeakably damaging stereotypes.
  • Lack of response from the bar management not to recognize, comprehend, take responsibility and act to intervene and stop this hurtful performance. The damage caused is beyond measure as a result of the lack of response. 
  • The complicity of the bar patrons in causing this damage when they sided with the performer when asked if the “heckler” should leave the bar. 

THE ONYX MIDWEST EXPECTATIONS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY


Effectively immediately ONYX Midwest will

  • Remove our Colors from Touche
  • Cease holding our monthly bar nights at Touche beginning in November 2022
  • Suspend David Boyer’s honorary membership from ONYX Midwest until after a timeframe to be decided by ONYX Midwest, as well as completed educational activities

ONYX Midwest will consider returning to host bar nights at Touche after management has fulfilled these requirements:

  • Establish and empower an event-review committee, made up of leadership from all groups that deem Touche as their home bar and a larger representation from Onyx on said committee–to review any and all events to be held at Touche.
  • Donate at least $3,000 to a POC focused charity that ONYX Midwest will name.
  • Terminate or accept resignation from David Boyer.
  • Commit to ensuring that David’s replacement agrees to fight to maintain an environment that excludes racism, misogyny, trans-phobia, sexism and avoids reinforcing stereotypes or discriminatory behavior.

THE ONYX MIDWEST REQUEST OF THE COMMUNITY


While we appreciate your support, we ask all members of the community to continue paying close attention to harmful or destructive reactions. This means:

STOP:

  • Threats against any members of our community and our spaces. This includes all threats against any MCL or other title holders, staff at Touche, and any members of our community who express inappropriate reactions to this incident.  
  • Threats against community spaces and institutions (e.g. LA&M, Touche, MIR26 etc).
  • Spreading false information about what ONYX Midwest is saying or is doing in response to this incident. 
  • Pre-empting ONYX Midwest’s response or questioning our timeline for responding. Instead we ask you to work with us, alongside us, digging your heels in and staying for the long haul to help us achieve the kind of environments we want and deserve.

START:

  • Identify and engage in opportunities for educating each other about productive and compassionate ways to respond to frustration.
  • Ask and learn how to be an impactful and truly supportive ally.
  • Show up for and participate actively (and respectfully) in the community forum when it is rescheduled.
  • Continue to support the staff (bartenders specifically) at Touche. 

We appreciate and love you all more than you know.

ONYX Midwest

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