Monday, April 13, 2009

Save Chez Vous Boston

Dear friends, concerned members of the community and esteemed colleagues,

On Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 6pm an official press conference will be held at the Chez Vous Roller Skating Rink regarding the impending closure of the iconic venue. Currently owned by community activist Greer Toney, the Dorchester landmark has been an important area landmark since 1932. The city's only roller skating and entertainment center not only provides an alternative to the violence that plagues the surrounding neighborhoods it has been an external family to its loyal patrons for decades.

Chez Vous has hosted several anti-violence functions over the years, notably last year's "P.E.A.C.E. Night @ Chez Vous" which received positive reviews from The Boston Herald (Chris Faraone), and The Banner (Tierney McAfee). The event featured a video shoot by recording artist Blue Chip and focused on alternatives to gang violence and drug peddling through community empowerment. P.E.A.C.E. Night attracted the attention of many community leaders such as Cindy Diggs of PeaceBoston and Tina Cherry of the Louis D. Brown Institute for Peace.

The success of that event provided the foundation for "Another P.E.A.C.E Night @ Chez Vous" which was planned to expand on the positive theme of the original P.E.A.C.E. Night. Recording artist/actor Bow Wow, who was scheduled to appear as the event's celebrity guest and speaker, arrived at Chez Vous but left without making a public appearance at the direction of his road manager who, despite the presence of three hired security teams, both the City and State police and in-house security staff, deemed the venue "unsafe" for the artist's entry. Hundreds of fans, many who had waited hours to see their beloved star shine, left Chez Vous with tears and a general feeling of having been let down by their idol.

Greer Toney, in her commitment to bringing the Atlanta-based star to Boston to speak about the importance of education and unity, used the skating rink's mortgage allotment to secure Bow Wow's appearance. As a result of his absence Ms Toney was forced to refund the patron's fees, ultimately resulting in Chez Vous' fate. The 77-year old venue will be auctioned off on April 15, 2009 and Boston will lose one of its finest resources.

A day prior and the day after the event, in unrelated instances, two young men were killed on Boston 's streets. One of the dead, an aspiring NBA star, was a Chez Vous regular before relocating to California to pursue his dreams. He was, ironically, in the city briefly to assist his family with moving out west. The potential for increased violence on Boston 's troubled streets if Chez Vous' doors are closed are great. The skating rink not only provides a safe environment for its patrons who have few alternatives, its staff are active mentors and mediators in the gang infested Roxbury, Dorchester , and Mattapan neighborhoods.

I encourage you to come out to the planned press conference and voice your concerns. Your attendance is welcomed and needed. Frankly, this issue is larger than keeping a business open. It is about the future of the community and its children. Your voice ushered in the presidency of this nation's first Black Commander In Chief. Your voice elected the state's first Black governor. Your voice is powerful and, once again, must be heard. Your community MUST be protected! I look forward to seeing you at this very important forum.

For additional information, please call; (617) 825-6877

Chez Vous Roller Skating Rink
11 Rhoades Street
Dorchester , MA 02124

1 comment:

adamg said...

Is the press conference still on given that the creditors have agreed to work with her to keep the rink open?