Black businesswoman receives racist, threatening letter

Multnomah County

Letter sent to Mimi's Fresh Tees one of 3 sent in area

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Detectives in Portland and Vancouver are investigating 3 disturbing letters sent to local people, including a woman KOIN 6 News interviewed for a story last week.

Two of those letters were sent to people in Portland, one to a person in Vancouver. All had the same name and return address. But investigators don’t think the man whose name is on the return address actually mailed them.

A redacted letter sent to the owner of Mimi’s Fresh Tees in Portland, July 2020 (Courtesy to KOIN)

The hateful letter, filled with racial slurs, was addressed to the owner of Mimi’s Fresh Tees. The owner filed a police report and said Portland police are now investigating.

Last week, KOIN 6 News interviewed the owner of Mimi’s Fresh Tees which makes t-shirts with empowering messages like “Make racism wrong again.” People have worn them at peaceful demonstrations.

But the owner received the letter on Monday, threatening the owner’s life and used racial slurs 6 times.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office told KOIN 6 News they are investigating a similar case. In the Washington case, the writer’s name is the same and in that letter the writer also used racial slurs.

KOIN 6 News is not using that person’s name.

“These letters were not sent by me at all,” the man told KOIN 6 News. “It shocks me that somebody would do this to kind of target me. Obviously they are targeting me because they are writing the return address on the label with my name and address, which is kind of scary.”

The man wants to clear the air and reach out to those impacted.

“I don’t want anyone to be in fear, especially if they’re neighbors,” he said. “This is crazy. I don’t know what’s going on.”

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said the man provided a writing sample, is cooperating and is currently not a suspect.

Postal inspectors are also looking into the 3 letters.

Statement from Mimi’s Fresh Tees

“I’m writing to my community today with hard news. Brace yourselves, friends. I wish I had had a chance to brace myself.

“I was living my life and keeping to myself. Living my life in this skin and suddenly my world was violated.

“My sanctuary, my home, my comfort was violated. I came home to find the attached letter addressed to me. It speaks for itself.

“Like all of us, I want to be safe physically and emotionally. And that was taken away from me.

“This is the experience of black people in Portland in 2020. This is not unique. I am not the first and, unfortunately, I won’t be the last.

“This experience has reinvigorated me and rededicated me to this work and my business. Hate will not win here. Love over hate.”

The office of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told KOIN 6 they’ve reached out to the owner of Mimi’s Fresh Tees “to ensure we’re doing everything we can to support her.”

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