Concord Mall Violates the Rights of Breastfeeding Mothers
I was proud to take part in a nationwide nurse-in at Hollister stores this past Saturday. A friend and I nursed peacefully – and without incident – for 20 minutes on Hollister’s front steps at our local mall. But not all women were as fortunate.
The nurse-in was sparked by a Hollister manager in Houston Texas who screamed at a young breastfeeding mother and kicked her out of the store for nursing her infant. I wrote about Brittany, and the need for nationwide enforcement provisions for state breastfeeding laws, at Best for Babes. I’ve recently started volunteering with Best for Babe’s Take Action and Legal Steering Committees, and I’m becoming even more intimately involved with the fight for breastfeeding rights.
So when I heard about the illegal actions of two security guards at the Concord Mall in Wilmington, Delaware, and the mall’s later unconscionable words about the incident on Facebook, I had to take action. Below is the letter I wrote to Jim Oeste and Ed Tennyson, the general and operating managers of Concord Mall. You can read more about the incident at Concord Mall in my most recent post at Best for Babes entitled “Concord Mall Equates Breastfeeding Babies to “Sucking on Wife’s Breasts in Public”; attempts Cover Up” (for a preview, check out the mall’s disgusting exchange on Facebook in the picture on the right).
I’d love for you to join me in contacting Concord Mall. Calling and asking to talk to management is more effective than writing. Just have a few talking points written down, and calmly tell them how you feel. The number for the Concord Mall is (302) 478-9271. Please be polite.
You can follow up by emailing your concerns. Here are several email addresses you can send your message to:
Ed Tennyson email@example.com
Jim Oeste firstname.lastname@example.org
We need to harness the emotions running high from these nurse-ins and make some positive change across the country. If you live in a state with no enforcement provision for your breastfeeding law, or if your state’s breastfeeding law is inadequate or nonexistent, take action! Let’s join together to protect the rights of breastfeeding pairs.
Read more at Best for Babes.
Dear Mr. Tennyson and Mr. Oeste,
While attending a peaceful nurse-in today at the Concord Mall, breastfeeding mothers were approached by police. The police had a report from the Concord Mall security that the mothers had “exposed themselves.” The mothers were asked to leave, but after showing the police officers Delaware’s law protecting breastfeeding pairs, they were allowed to stay in the mall. After the police officers left, the security guards (Jason Rogers and Lt. Revell) threatened the mothers with removal if they nursed again and followed the mothers throughout the mall.
Later, a representative from your mall made incredibly inappropriate and deplorable comments on your Facebook page. I have attached a screenshot of the comments. Someone from your office (Ethel) confirmed to a caller that the Facebook page belongs to your mall and that Mall Management controls it.
This is Delaware state law that protects every breastfeeding pair who enters your mall:
Del. Code Ann. tit. 31 § 310 (1997): Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, a mother shall be entitled to breast-feed her child in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother is otherwise permitted.
There are numerous and well-documented benefits for both children and mothers who breastfeed, as well as risks to those who do not breastfeed. Breastmilk contains growth factors, hormones, enzymes, and other substances that are immune-protective and foster proper growth and nutrition. Breastfeeding is associated with a reduction of the risk for children of contracting pneumonia, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections, severe infections of the lower respiratory tract, asthma, obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, certain types of cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Breastmilk and breastfeeding are the standard for infant nutrition. No mother should ever be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed for giving her child nourishment and comfort at her breast. Another mother might not know her rights. She might comply with unlawful requests to cover up or leave. She might decide to pump or reduce her child’s number of breastfeeding sessions (both of which may reduce her milk supply and harm the breastfeeding relationship). She might even decide to wean her child prematurely.
Please work with me to normalize breastfeeding in our society. I am writing to ask you to take positive steps to help breastfeeding mothers. First, please educate your employees about the rights of breastfeeding pairs. If you need help finding materials or someone to lead an informational session, I will help you find a qualified volunteer from Best for Babes or NursingFreedom.org, or an attorney, Lactation Counselor, or La Leche League leader in your area. Second, you can also display signs that identify your facility as “breastfeeding friendly.” Third, we ask that you issue a formal and public apology for the actions of your employees – not only in humiliating the breastfeeding mothers, but for the ignorant and disgusting comments on your public Facebook page.
Several national news networks have already been contacted about your actions. If you contact us and begin implementing a plan of action, we would be willing to work with you and the media to show the immediate, positive actions you are taking to make the necessary changes in your company.
Please email me at your earliest convenience.
Screenshot used with permission of Michelle DeanRuben
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"Concord Mall Violates the Rights of Breastfeeding Mothers"
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