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Ice Queens Snowball Shop in Locust Point alleges racist incidents targeting store owners, Black customers

The owner of the Ice Queens Snowball Shop in South Baltimore’s Locust Point neighborhood says the establishment has been the target several of what she alleges are racist incidents since it opened Memorial Day.

Outside the corner shop on East Fort Avenue, owner Dasia Kabia, a Black woman, said that over the past two months the snowball shop has been harassed by white people.

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She said signs outside the store have been torn down and lighting fixtures have been stolen. People have driven by and targeted comments at the restaurant, said Kabia, adding that one person asked her whether she’d researched the neighborhood before opening her business.

On Tuesday, Kabia said, a woman in a minivan threw a ceramic mug at a Black male customer sitting outside.

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Kabia said when the man asked the woman why she threw a mug at him, the woman answered plainly: “Because I hate Black people.”

The incidents left Kabia shaken, she said.

“I thought I was going to come here and make snowballs,” Kabia said. “I don’t know if I want to do it anymore.”

According to a police report, an officer was approached Sunday afternoon by the shop’s owner to report that people had been removing their signs and moving their trash cans to the alley so the business would be fined by the city. The police report said the owner “thinks it’s a possibility that these were racially motivated incidents,” though it notes there wasn’t specific evidence to support that.

Councilman Eric Costello, who represents the Locust Point area, described the allegations as “disgusting” and said that people who are responsible should be “ashamed” of themselves.

“The young ladies who work there with them are their family members, they are awesome and they run a great small business,” Costello wrote in a memo. “They deserve our support. Who doesn’t want a snowball when it’s 95 degrees out in Baltimore.”

The councilman said he has been in “constant contact” with Baltimore Police Southern District Commander Byron Conaway about the incidents. Costello said police will increase their patrols in the area around Ice Queens and that “police officers will be stopping in to say hello multiple times per day.”

Ice Queens has seen an outpouring of support from some residents in light of the recent incidents, Kabia said. A long line stretched around the business Tuesday as word of the incidents spread on social media and some of the customers there Wednesday said they’d come after they’d heard the news.

Davon Collins was at the establishment Wednesday after hearing about the recent incidents on Instagram.

He said he’s supportive of Ice Queens and wanted to make sure the store knew it still has an audience after the racist incidents.

“They’re trying to lead with love, so I’m just out here to support them,” Collins said.

In the “Locust Point Issues” Facebook group, a user named Julie Markowitz urged the Locust Point community to come to the aid of Ice Queens.

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“My family and I will continue supporting Ice Queens — more than ever — and our entire community should do the same,” Markowitz wrote.

Kabia said she was thankful for the groundswell of support from local residents. While the incidents have been discouraging, Kabia said her family has continued to support her through the tough times.

She said her mother told her: “We’re not gonna let them shut us down.”

Baltimore Sun reporter McKenna Oxenden contributed to this article.

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