The Starbucks by my house sits on a busy intersection. Its mornings greet a parade of coffee lovers of every hue through its doors and drive thru.
The Starbucks by my house caters to everyone:
The office workers who saunter through on their way to work;
the freelancers like me who sip on designer lattés to escape the doldrums of their home offices;
the budding entrepreneurs holding business meetings with prospective clients;
and the three black men who never buy drinks.
There are always three of them. I don’t know their names.
Every time I frequent this location, these three men are already there.
They never hold drinks at the long table they habitually populate. Instead, they hold cellphones.
These three black men are there for the wi-fii. We all know this.
And yet the baristas — themselves hues of beautiful blacks and browns — let them.
These men cause no harm and they do no wrong. It’s obvious they’re down on their luck, down on life.
Their faces and eyes seem tired, even at 8am; their hands dirty, worn, cracked.
The cops are never called.
These three black men take up space, and they are welcomed, not because they are paying customers, but because they are a part of our humanity.
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