The Burlington ONE community, a multicultural neighborhood association, wants Little Morocco Cafe to continue. “Protect minority businesses” and “Do the right thing” were chanted by the demonstrators, hand-made brown flags or Moroccan flag in hand. “We are a diverse community, but there are not many places to go for ethnic food. We also need diversity in the business world,” said Hoda Musanovic. vtdigger. The woman of Moroccan origin demonstrated with about thirty people in front of the building where the Little Morocco Cafe and Hinsdale Properties offices are located.
Also read: Moroccans in the United States ask for help to save the restaurant
The five-year lease on the 1,600-square-foot restaurant expires on July 31. Real estate manager Jacob Hinsdale said Monday that he decided to raise the restaurant’s rent from $2,000 to $5,000 due to multiple problems with tenants, ranging from poor communication to code violations in recent years. Al-Omrani, who has since decided to sell his business due to the rent increase, refutes his argument. Jacob Hinsdale is accused of racism.
“Vermont always promotes itself as being inclusive of people of color and considers itself diverse and welcoming…but this is the only Moroccan restaurant in the entire country, one of the few owned by people of color in the entire state, and you raised the rent 150%? Especially in the middle of Ramadan, in a state that claims to love and welcome us.” Musanovic, a regular customer of the Little Morocco Café, expresses his concern. “If this can happen to restaurants, what happens to us, the tenants?” he asks.
Read also: A Moroccan baker is forced to close his shop because of racism in France
“We’ve seen a lot of people pushed out of Burlington by aggressive landlords and rent increases,” said Julia Macuja, one of the protest organizers. She notes that real estate agent Jacob Hinsdale is married to Chittenden Senatrice Keisha Rahm Hinsdale, who chairs the Senate Economic Development, Housing and Public Affairs Committee. Sam Nelis of Barr Hill Gin is exploring the possibility of using the Little Morocco Cafe space as a future business and has requested a hearing from the same committee.
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