Kenyan man Yema Khalif, who resides in America has been awarded a total sum of $150,000 after he and his wife Hawi Awash faced racial discrimination in their shop in California, USA.
Yema who is originally from Kibra in Nairobi, went to USA in pursuit of higher education where he studied at the Dominican College. He then met his who was also a student in the USA and an Ethiopian national.
Together the couple operates a sportswear shop in Tiburon, California which happens to be the only black-owned shop in town. The two were working late back in 2020 when the police stormed in and asked them to prove that they are the legal owners of the shop. The couple tried all means possible to convince the Tiburon police.
Things got messy and people began recording the incident which soon went viral. Luckily, their white neighbour confirmed that the two own the store, which saw the police leave them alone.
Yema and his wife proceeded to sue the city and sought $2 million for emotional distress, potential loss of business and punitive damages.
Speaking at a press conference in Tiburon, Yema revealed that they just want to be treated with love, dignity and respect.
“This isn’t about just me and Yema, it’s about every single black and brown person that comes into the Tiburon community, that comes into the Belvedere community,” said Hawi.
The law enforcement agency will now look into its training on racial bias while Yema and his wife Hawi have been asked to join an advisory board tasked with vetting recruits for the police department.
The immigrant couple revealed that they will use part of the money they have received to offer scholarships to orphans back in Kenya and Ethiopia. They also revealed that 20% of the earnings from the boutique goes directly to orphans in Kenya and Ethiopia.