With passion and courage she stood in front of her establishment. Shirley Chisholm exclaimed, “America has the laws and material resources it takes to insure justice for all its people. What it lacks is the heart, the humanity, the Christian love that it would take.”
Miesha Stokely the owner of the CupCake Cutie Boutique an establishment located at 8 South 6th Avenue., Mt. Vernon, New York was approached by the Building Department and asked to present the “Certificate of Occupancy.” The Certificate of Occupancy was a temporary certificate which expired. The permanent certificate was yet to be sent to the establishment. She was then directed to close her doors and make all inquiries on Monday morning with the Building Department. Miesha stated she was complying and started to move ingredients out because she had major orders for the weekend to fulfill. She was heavy hearted, confused, and terrorized by the presence of the Mount Vernon Police Department.
She stopped in her tracks and decided to stand her ground. Harriet Tubman stated, “I had to cross the line.” Miesha began asking more questions and announced that she will not be going anywhere. Mayor Richard Thomas executed the building department to request for a Certificate of Occupancy and directed for the establishment to be shut down. Miesha called the Building owner for help, because the Cupcake Cutie Boutique are rentors/operators of a unit in the building. The onus is on the building “owner” to show the certificate. Landlords can not rent units without a Certificate of Occupancy. Members of the community were alerted thru Facebook live and a stand off of justice seeking people gathered. Anyone who left the shop were not granted access and if they tried to re-enter they would be arrested.
Miesha was embraced as the Mount Vernon community, family, friends and Sorority Sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Incorporated reminded her what Nina Simone sang in 1970, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black”, your soul’s intact. She was held high and not seen as a “Strange Fruit” as sung by Billy Holiday, while customers flocked to the CupCake Cutie Boutique and posted comments on social media in support of her understanding—when Rosa Parks refused to get up. Multiple people were her “Bridge Over Troubled Water” as penned by Paul Simon. Many knew that being present could result in them being arrested, which fueled them as they exemplified the quote by Assata Shakur, “It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other.”
By Monday morning, August 6, 2018 The Cupcake Cutie Boutique remained open after the Building Department issued them a new temporary certificates of occupancy and tenancy. The building department dropped the ball. Mayor Richard Thomas’ office released a statement insisting it was never their goal to shut them down.
Miesha Stokely stood as Aretha Franklin whispered in her ear… demand “RESPECT”.