Concord Mall Equates Breastfeeding Babies to “Sucking on Wife’s Breasts in Public”; attempts Cover Up

by Dionna Ford | January 6, 2013 2:40 pm

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Hollister’s signs are very suggestive, mothers nursing are not.  Photo: Paala Secor of paa.la

On Saturday, January 5, over 1,000 breastfeeding mothers, children, and the friends that stand in support of them gathered peacefully at Hollister stores around the United States and Canada.

More than 50 mothers participated at the Galleria Mall in Houston, Texas, the Hollister store that sparked the nurse-in. Days before the nurse-in, one of the Houston store’s managers screamed at Brittany Warfield and forced her to leave[2] for nursing her baby in the store. You can see video about Houston’s nurse-in at KHOU.com[3].

Unfortunately, Brittany was not the only mother illegally harrassed for breastfeeding in a mall recently. We’ve heard reports of mothers being harassed at the nurse-ins at Lakeland Square Mall[4] in Florida and at the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL (but security later apologized!), and one mother saw a bathroom stall in the Siver City Galleria Mall in Taunton, MA[5] set up for mothers to breastfeed (the toilet had been replaced by a rocking chair and a mall employee confirmed that was the intended use; read more at the link). Ew.

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Diana Hitchens’ sister being questioned by Wilmington, Delaware police officers for “indecent exposure” during a nurse-in at the Concord Mall.

Sadly, it gets worse.  In Wilmington, Delaware, Diana Hitchens and two other mothers participated in the Hollister nurse-in at the Concord Mall[7]. Two security guards approached the mothers in a seating area outside of Hollister and asked them to remove the signs they had on their strollers (the women had made signs that said something about normalizing nursing in public) and move to another part of the mall. The mothers took the signs down but continued to breastfeed in their chairs, as they are allowed to do by Delaware law.

The security guards then apparently asked local police to intervene due to the mothers’ “indecent exposure.” The police spoke with the mothers, but the officers did not take any action after Diana showed them a copy of Delaware’s law that protects breastfeeding pairs.

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.

After the police officers left, the security guards threatened the mothers with removal if they nursed again and followed the mothers throughout the mall.

When mothers on Facebook heard about the Concord Mall’s security guards’ actions, they posted on the mall’s Facebook page, asking why the guards were allowed to violate state law. Concord Mall’s response was shocking.

This is one of the mall’s exchanges as captured in the screen shot below:

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When this exchange (and others like it) were shared on Facebook, the outrage was immediate. Women from across the U.S. began writing and calling Concord Mall to denounce their company’s deplorable treatment of mothers.

In a poorly executed effort to cover any evidence of wrongdoing, it appears that Concord Mall’s management has disabled its Facebook page. In its responses to several women who have emailed to express their disgust, Concord Mall management denies that it ever had a Facebook page and attempts to distance itself from the security guards in question.

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The detective work of several mothers, however, seem to show that Concord Mall is being dishonest. Concord Mall’s website prominently features a link to its Facebook page with this URL: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Concord-Mall/262301207123393

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Digging a little further, you can see what looks like business-appropriate activity on a Facebook page for Concord Mall in Google’s cached pages. Google’s cached version matches the URL of the Facebook link on the company’s site. (This is Google’s cache of http://www.facebook.com/pages/Concord-Mall/262301207123393).

Additionally, a Concord Mall employee confirmed to one mother by phone that Concord Mall does maintain a Facebook page that is controlled by mall management.

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Concord Mall’s actions are unconscionable. As I wrote in my call to action letter to Concord Mall management,

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.

You can read the letter in its entirety at Code Name: Mama[13], and I encourage you to call and write to the mall’s management yourself. They must be made aware that treating women and children this way is illegal, immoral, and we will not allow it to stand.

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 etennyson@alliedrealprop.com
Jim Oeste joeste@alliedrealprop.com
info@alliedrealprop.com

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[14]! Let’s join together to protect the rights of breastfeeding pairs.

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Cheer on a nursing mom! Order our Thank You for NIP cards :-) Just $3 for 10 cards, free shipping!

And please help keep our 1-855-NIP-FREE Nursing Harassment Hotline Alive! Your donations, no matter how small make it possible to provide this badly-need public service to moms and babies!

_________________________

Dionna is a lawyer turned work at home mama of two amazing kids, Kieran and Ailia. You can normally find Dionna over at Code Name: Mama[16] where she shares information, resources, and her thoughts on natural parenting and life with little ones. Dionna is also cofounder of Natural Parents Network[17] and NursingFreedom.org[18], and author of For My Children: A Mother’s Journal of Memories, Wishes, and Wisdom[19].

All photos used with permission.
Photo Credits are as follows:
Photo 1: Paala Secor of paa.la
Photo 2: Diana Hitchens
Photo 3: Michelle DeanRuben
Photo 4: Michelle DeanRuben
Photo 5: Tia Webb
Photos 6 and 7: Dionna Ford



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Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://doublethink.us.com/paala/2012/12/29/nationwide-hollister-nurse-in/
  2. forced her to leave: http://www.bestforbabes.org/breastfeeding-harassment-at-hollister-laws-offer-no-real-protection
  3. KHOU.com: http://www.khou.com/news/local/Mothers-protest-Hollister-store-over-nursing-incident-185765782.html
  4. Lakeland Square Mall: http://www.dadonahog.com/2013/01/nurse-in-at-hollister.html?m=1
  5. Siver City Galleria Mall in Taunton, MA: http://www.nursingfreedom.org/2013/01/hey-silver-city-galleria-were-setting.html
  6. [Image]: http://www.bestforbabes.org/concord-mall-equates-breastfeeding-babies-to-sucking-on-wifes-breasts-in-public-attempts-cover-up/concord-1
  7. Concord Mall: http://www.concordmall.com/info/information
  8. [Image]: http://www.bestforbabes.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/concord-mall.jpg
  9. [Image]: http://www.bestforbabes.org/concord-mall-equates-breastfeeding-babies-to-sucking-on-wifes-breasts-in-public-attempts-cover-up/concord-3
  10. [Image]: http://www.bestforbabes.org/concord-mall-equates-breastfeeding-babies-to-sucking-on-wifes-breasts-in-public-attempts-cover-up/concord-4
  11. [Image]: http://www.bestforbabes.org/concord-mall-equates-breastfeeding-babies-to-sucking-on-wifes-breasts-in-public-attempts-cover-up/concord-fb
  12. [Image]: http://www.bestforbabes.org/concord-mall-equates-breastfeeding-babies-to-sucking-on-wifes-breasts-in-public-attempts-cover-up/concord-mall-cached
  13. Code Name: Mama: http://codenamemama.com/2013/01/06/concord-mall-breastfeeding-letter
  14. take action: http://www.bestforbabes.org/take-action/bfb-guide-to-legislative-change
  15. [Image]: http://www.bestforbabes.org/thank-you-for-breastfeeding-nursing-in-public-harassment-hotline-card
  16. Code Name: Mama: http://codenamemama.com
  17. Natural Parents Network: http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/
  18. NursingFreedom.org: http://nursingfreedom.org
  19. For My Children: A Mother’s Journal of Memories, Wishes, and Wisdom: http://www.amazon.com/My-Children-Mothers-Journal-Memories/dp/1612430619/?_encoding=UTF8&s=books&tag=conama-20&linkCode=ur2&qid=1328047460&camp=1789&sr=1-1&creative=9325
  20. [Image]: http://www.linkwithin.com/

Source URL: http://www.bestforbabes.org/concord-mall-equates-breastfeeding-babies-to-sucking-on-wifes-breasts-in-public-attempts-cover-up/