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Come Meet A Black Person event loses meeting space after complaints

Cheryle Moses had hoped to start relevant conversations about race when she created the inaugural “Come Meet a Black Person Event” (CMABP) in Gwinnett which took place last month. 

News of the local event quickly made national headlines, and Moses found herself in the media spotlight. The event drew a lot of strong reactions, she said, some negative and some positive.

Moses said 51 tickets were sold to the first event and some attendees just showed up at the door. The group was about a quarter white and three-quarters black. Moses decided to host a similar event this month. But last week, she learned her organization was no longer welcome at Cornerstone Coworking space in Lawrenceville.

According to JoAnn Holmes, an attorney representing Cornerstone Coworking, Moses’ membership was terminated after Moses failed to respond to several attempts to reach her regarding a contract issue.

While Holmes did not elaborate on the contract issues, Moses shared an email correspondence with Holmes which stated: 

“Unfortunately, Cornerstone has received complaints from some members respecting recent interactions with you. Our goal is to be fair to everyone involved in addressing this. Accordingly, I invite you to share your thoughts regarding your communications at Cornerstone, so that we can evaluate your position in determining how to move forward.”

The initial email was dated Dec. 1. A subsequent email  sent on Dec. 6 requested a response by 4 p.m., Dec. 8. Moses who said she had not checked her email due to her busy schedule, responded on Dec. 11. 

Holmes replied stating that Moses’ contract had been terminated. Moses, who joined the coworking space in mid-October, had two events scheduled for this month including another CMABP event on Dec. 22.

It is unclear what complaints came from other members of Cornerstone Coworking but correspondence with the attorney suggests Moses had somehow violated the member agreement. 

“You may recall that your Cornerstone Member Agreement includes terms that are designed to create a cooperative and mutually respectful environment,” stated Holmes in one email to Moses. 

Cornerstone has posted several messages on social media stating its purpose and mission including “Our Company Purpose is, ‘With God’s guidance, build thriving cultures that benefit the lives of all they touch.’”

Moses and an attendee of the previous event said they believe Cornerstone was “spooked” by the nature of the CMABP gathering. 

In a previous interview with the AJC, Moses said she was inspired to create the event after learning about a 2014 study from Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute, which found that 75 percent of whites have few black friends or few friends of any race other than white.

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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.