After losing their mother to cancer, Makia Underwood, 32, Zakia Clark, 29, and Tasha Clark, 27 began wearing shirts and hats with “F— Cancer” emblazoned on the front, with a breast cancer ribbon replacing the ‘C.”
It was a therapeutic way to address a deeply painful experience.
While shopping at Philadelphia’s King of Prussia Mall for a dress for Zakia’s 9 year-old daughter to wear at her grandmother’s funeral, a security guard took issue with the message on their hats, and demanded that they take them off or leave.
When Zakia refused, seven more guards surrounded them.
“I was very embarrassed,” she said. “My daughter was so scared she was crying.”
As the group was escorted to the mall office, Makia called and met up with them.
“I couldn’t believe they were acting like they were going to arrest my sisters,” she said.
Once they got to the office, the women were met by an Upper Merion Township police officer, who had been called to the mall by security guards.
“The officer said, ‘I find it offensive that you even have that hat that says ‘F— CANCER,’ ” Zakia said. “He said, ‘It’s their mall, they want you out, you have to get out.’ ”
The women were escorted out, and two security cars were waiting for them at their car just to make sure they left, Zakia said.
After local media found out about the situation, Les Morris, spokesman for Simon Property Group in Indianapolis (which owns the mall) called and apologized to Zakia and her family.
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