Ft. Wayne, IN laundromat sign: no Burmese people allowed

Update March 20th:   Ft. Wayne lawyer stirs the pot further, here.

Update March 18th:  Controversy is growing in Ft. Wayne, here.

Update March 12th:  More on this story, here.  A teachable moment for all, including for Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities and other groups that work with Burmese immigrants should use the incident to educate newcomers about acceptable and unacceptable practices in public places.


Ft. Wayne, IN reportedly has the largest population of Burmese refugees in the United States and is one of the cities extensively used by the US State Department as a resettlement site for refugees of many nationalities.  So, it is no surprise that tensions are running high as you can see from the comments to this story from WANE.com:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Ricker Oil issued an apology, Tuesday, after a sign reading ‘No Burmese Allowed’ was posted outside one of its businesses.

The sign, which completely read ‘For Sanitary Purposes, There Are No Burmese Allowed’ created a backlash, when it was spotted on a door at Ricker’s laundromat on the corner of Rudisill and Calhoun. It’s not clear when the sign went up or how long it remained there.

Angry customers turned to the social networking site, Facebook, to voice their outrage and vowed to boycott the company until it apologized.

On Tuesday, the company’s founder, Jay Ricker issued the statement below.

Read Ricker’s statement.   Then further down in the story there is this line.  We will be anxiously waiting, as I am sure the residents of Ft. Wayne will be, to find out what on earth prompted the sign.  What was the “alarming situation?”

A Ricker spokesperson would not go into detail about the ‘alarming situation’ referenced in the apology, but did say the company was working with Allen County’s Health Department and Burmese Advocacy Center (BAC).

That Portland, ME Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence (with a federal grant) has already targeted Ft. Wayne as a city whose citizens need to get their minds right on immigrants.  Now you are really going to get a whoppin’ from the group that is in cahoots with the Southern Poverty Law Center!

Citizens in Ft. Wayne should find out when that group is coming to town to tell you how great everything is going in Lewiston, ME with the thousands of Somalis there (it is going very poorly).  You should really find out when they are coming and be sure that whatever meetings they hold are open to the public—with a federal grant they surely can’t close the meetings.

To learn more about Ft. Wayne, use our search function.  We have written many posts on the city’s refugee overload problem.


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