DES MOINES–Two members of Occupy the Caucus say they were discriminated against when they were asked to leave former
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s public town hall meeting Monday night in Clive.
Kaylynn Strain, 45, of Des Moines, said a building employee at Competitive Edge, 9350 Hickman Rd., an Iowa-based advertising company that hosted the event, told her to leave the meeting.
Strain, who wears a white hijab headscarf, said she was discriminated against because she is Muslim.
Emilio Baez, 17, another Occupier in town from Chicago, said he thought he was picked out of the crowd because he is Latino.
“I was certainly the only Latino I saw, and I was picked up right away,” Baez said Tuesday morning.
The Occupiers originally planned to “mic check,” or interrupt, Romney, but Strain and Baez were asked to leave before that started, Strain said.
“Quite a few of us were picked up immediately, even though we tried to disguise ourselves by not having anything on us that could be a dead giveaway,” Strain said at the Occupy the Caucus headquarters, 504 E. Locust St., Tuesday afternoon.
“But when you’re the only Muslim woman in the room, that could easily be picked out.”
Strain said she felt violated when the man who asked her to leave said she “was not welcome in his space.”
She refused to leave and was one out of three Occupiers arrested at the event.
“My rights were violated. I was discriminated against. I am a Muslim and I will file a suit,” Strain said, who was cited and released by the Clive police.
David Greenspon, president of Competitive Edge, said he was unaware of the arrests during the town hall because he was in the back of the building with Romney for most of the night.
He did not know if it was a Competitive Edge employee who approached Strain and Baez. Greenspon said his company does not discriminate.
“We have every kind of person working for our company,” Greenspon said.
No one from Romney’s Iowa headquarters responded to interview requests.