Civil Rights Investor Fired For Racism

Civil Rights Investor Fired For Making Racist Comments to Bartender


Photo courtesy of Wright State University

Leo Nicholson, Staff Writer

Julia Acosta-Grommon, a Hispanic Civil Rights investigator who was hired to Dayton’s Human Relations Council in April, was fired on October 15 due to racist comments.

According to WHIO TV, Acosta-Grommon was attending a birthday celebration with a friend on August 29 at Elsa’s Corner Cantina in Sugarcreek Township, about 15 miles south of Dayton. 

According to the Dayton Daily News, Acosta-Grommon and a friend went to the bar where she later became enraged when Ryan Collins, a bartender at Elsa’s Corner Cantina, asked her to quiet down. Collins said Acosta-Grommon was being loud and inappropriate while talking to a friend at the bar, and he took her drink away and told her she needed to leave, according to an email Collins sent to the city of Dayton obtained by Dayton Daily NewsAcosta-Grommon allegedly said to the bartender “this is why I hate black people” after Collins, who is black, took her drink away. She then told him that he will “never be more than a black piece of —— bartender.” Acosta-Grommon continued to spew more racist comments to Collins, such as “Black people are the low-lives of society, and it’s for that reason I don’t have to listen to a black piece of —— like you.” 

According to Dayton Daily News, Collins says he ordered her to leave and offered to call her an Uber, but she had to be escorted out of the establishment by management. The two women sat by the restaurant’s entryway until Craig Orzechowski, the co-owner of the bar, threatened to call the police. 

On her way out, Acosta-Grommon allegedly told Collins she hoped he had a “cross burning” on his lawn when he got home and got a “call from the KKK,” he stated in the email. She went on to say Black people were “unappreciative dogs” who didn’t want to work and only wanted handouts.

Collins said in his email that his bartending shift started at 4 p.m. and he encountered Acosta-Grommon and a friend. He said the bartender he took over for indicated Acosta-Grommon had only consumed two drinks. Collins said that Acosta-Grommon “informed” him of her position in the city and her “position in society” and that he would never amount to anything more in life.

Orzechowski confirmed Collins’ statements in his email and gave the city video evidence of the incident. The city decided to discharge Acosta-Grommon mid-September. In interviews with Dayton staff, Acosta-Grommon denied the allegations but said she was asked to leave the bar because she and her friend were being loud while using “adult language.”

According to the Dayton Daily News, Acosta-Grommon,was hired at a salary of about $60,000 per year, and was still a probationary employee when she was discharged. Her probationary period was to last for six months. She previously volunteered at Dayton’s mediation center and previously worked at multiple centers for women, LGBTQ affairs and the Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center. She has taught in the organizational leadership program and served on the Wright State University’s race and social justice committee, diversity advisory committee and strategic planning steering committee, according to records in her personnel file.