Kimberly Houzah was shopping at the Victoria's Secret in the Quintard Mall of Oxford, Ala. on Wednesday when a shoplifter was caught and ejected from the store. Houzah, a 27-year-old traveling nurse, and the only other black woman in the store were then approached by an associate at the store and asked to leave. Confusing, right? Because these women were not shoplifting and neither of them knew the woman who was.
Houzah was confused as well, but luckily she had the smarts to pull out her phone and start recording the entire thing on Facebook Live. "Now it was another black female in here that got caught stealing, right?" Houzah says to the camera. "And [the manager] asks me and another black female to leave. She can't tell us why but we're kicked out of the store."
Of course, the reason the store associate is unwilling to tell her is that she grouped all the black women in the store into one category: potential risks. In other words, it was an incident of racial profiling. As Houzah put it, "we have to be affiliated. So we're all put out."
In the video you can see that Houzah is forced to leave the store, and she continues recording as she walks through the parking lot and eventually gets in her car. At this point in the video, she is understandably upset. "I would never, ever step a foot back in that store," she said.
Victoria's Secret released a statement on Wednesday saying that they're, "aware of the situation," and, "currently putting together all the information we can gather," but Houzah decided to take justice into her own hand by returning to the Victoria's Secret the following day for a peaceful protest, according to the Anniston Star. While the employee that ejected Houzah wasn't present, the manager who was working apologized for what happened to Houzah, who was accompanied by her mother and other individuals supporting her cause.
Since then, Victoria's Secret's parent company has released another statement saying they will, "take the appropriate actions," which Houzah is hoping means that the employee who ejected her from the store will be fired. What Houzah did, from recording the incident and her reactions, to returning the next day to demand an apology, were acts of bravery in the face of racism that will hopefully inspire the rest of us to stand up for each other.
"I’m glad I brought a little sunlight to the problem," Houzah said Thursday. Let's all keep this in mind next time we see an injustice or need to go underwear shopping.