Stephanie McLamb stands in front of the Mooncricket Grille, a local restaurant in Winter Garden holding a sign stating “I am not your Moon Cricket”. The name Moon Cricket is labeled on Dictionary.com as well as Wikipedia as a racial slur against black people. The name is defined in Urban Dictionary as a derogatory name used in the days of slavery, referring to the slaves singing during the night time.
Her presence drew the attention of an older woman sitting with her grandchildren who decided to yell “All Lives Matter” to her as she stood quietly with her sign.
Recently, Stephanie had come across an online petition requesting that the Mooncricket Grille change their name. After reading up on the story, she was struck by the fact that the owners were made aware of the meaning years ago but remained unwilling to change the name.
“The problems this country is facing, those roots run deeper than almost anyone cares to acknowledge. I was hoping that the owners (who are claiming that no one is actually bothered by their sign) could see what it reads like to the people who have to walk by that storefront, now knowing.”Stephanie McLamb
Stephanie admits that before all this her activism had been passive. After what happened to George Floyd, the switch was flipped. She defines it as her generations Emmett Till. Talking about anything else at this point felt shallow and problematic, and for the first time in a long time, it felt the whole world was actually listening.
Stephanie grew up in a small rural area of North Carolina, until 2008 when she moved to Orlando on a theme park internship. She attended a Christian college in Georgia to be an education major and has always been drawn to people-related fields.
Growing up in a biracial family provided her a fairly unique experience. With her mother, an immigrant from Belgium, she was raised among her dad’s family, a traditional large, loud, family-oriented, church-oriented and food-oriented black experience.
She spent much of her youth and college years in a super conservative, evangelical, somewhat diverse but predominantly white, Bible belt bubble.
While working as a student teacher pursuing her degree, she started to see cracks in the system; from the burden put on teachers to all the standardized practices, she realized she wouldn’t make it for the long haul.
Finding home in Orlando
Her internship in Orlando developed a love for working in the food and beverage industry. Over the last 12 years she’s made a close group of friends who have become a second family to her. These friendships have made Orlando her home.
Where her journey is taking her
I think what I want people to know is that it’s about empathy. It’s about acknowledging when things are a problem, even when they aren’t a problem for you. It’s about acknowledging how you might be a part of that problem, which is the hardest thing for people to face. I’ve lived in the small town south, and I’ve lived in one of the fastest growing, unified, progressive cities in the nation. I grew up in a black family, learning about our history, the struggles and the triumphs, a lot of what the history books left out, and I ran in the social circles of the small town, white evangelical people those history books were predominantly written for. I’m from a patriotic military family but also the daughter of an immigrant. I’m from a highly conservative religious background, and yet now I champion the causes for the groups who are generally most heavily ostracized by the church (LGBTQ+ allyship, immigration reform, women’s rights and autonomy, etc). So when I read through people’s comments, see the arguments of people (good people who are knowing or unknowingly working against progress), I usually get where they are coming from. I’ve usually seen the world at least partially through their eyes at one point. The problem is, so many of them have never seen the world through someone else’s. All of my (fairly newfound) activism is really just me trying to tell my story, or our stories, because I think it’s the conversations that are important. People aren’t going to change their hearts and minds because a news article or a tweet told them to, but I think they will once they start listening to and actually hearing the people they know and love.Stephanie McLamb
Stephanie, we love that you are are here; that you are giving Orlando your voice. Keep standing for love, unity and our local community.