“As for Bill Regan, the worker and union president who has devoted the last five years to fighting for affirmative action in the engineering division, he will decide within the next week whether to remove his formal complaint from the Massachusetts Committee Against Discrimination and take Amtrak to federal court instead.”

The rules have changed | 15 years ago | October 25, 1991 | Ric Kahn got the scoop on the new partnership between the homeless AND AU Bon Pain.
“The Au Bon Pain café chain has become the darling of those notorious croissant-lovers — the homeless.

“In a historic declaration of peace this week, representatives of Au Bon Pain and the Boston Jobs with Peace Homeless Civil Rights Project signed a set of ‘fair-treatment guidelines’ spelling out how poor and homeless people are to be treated, and how patrons are expected to behave, at the company’s more than 100 upscale bakery/restaurants throughout the region.

“To get the flavor of the eight agreed-upon principles, here’s number two: ‘All patrons have a right to be treated with courtesy, dignity, and in a non-discriminatory manner. That, because of the particular nature of their situation, people perceived as homeless should, if anything, be accorded an added measure of consideration.’ Number five, meanwhile, states: ‘Management reserves the right to exclude all whose behavior is disruptive or threatening, regardless of their economic status. Sleeping and panhandling are recognized as disruptive behavior.’

“Homeless Civil Rights Project director Jack McCambridge says the agreement came about after the homeless threatened to picket the Harvard Square Au Bon Pain over a new manager’s alleged two-faced practice of booting the homeless who lingered after buying coffee while allowing the three-piece suits to stay as long as they wanted.

“ ‘Homeless people stood up for their rights and demanded to be treated with dignity,’ says McCambridge, who hopes the guidelines will serve as a model. ‘Because they were willing to fight for it, they got it.’ ”

Flight of the Phoenix | 20 years ago |October 28, 1986 | William A. Henry III recalled the humble beginnings of Boston After Dark.
“It began, like many a yuppie entrepreneurial venture, at a cocktail party in Cambridge. Although the plan discussed that night would impact the arts and lifestyles and eventually politics, it was conceived strictly as a commercial proposition. The thinking came from classic Harvard Business School precepts: identify a market, assess its needs, fill in the empty places. The time was early 1966, when the country was still getting used to hippies and no one would even have imagined that the youth revolution could someday transmute into yuppiedom’s adoring gaze toward the mirror. The first fruits of the baby boom were just leaving their teens. The nation’s business leaders were awakening to the realization that young people, especially university students, could be a distinct and profitable market. At that moment in metropolitan Boston, home of about a hundred institutions of higher learning (or at least higher credentialing), Boston After Dark was a fresh and potentially lucrative idea. . . .

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