Woman Sues Walker Art Center After Breastfeeding Incident

A Minneapolis woman is suing the Walker Art Center after an employee, apparently ill-informed on the museum’s policies, allegedly told her she could not breastfeed her infant in a gallery.  

Megan Mzenga visited the institution with her family in early March. “My daughter got hungry, and she started rooting,” she told the Minneapolis TV news station KARE11. “We were actually in a gallery with two large couches. I decided to sit down on a couch and started nursing her. At that point, a male staff member approached me and said, ‘You can’t do this here. I’ll call an escort to take you to a place where you can do this.’” 

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“My immediate mindset went to shame. And I didn’t want to make a fuss.” Mzenga added. Upon exiting the museum, she asked a different employee for clarification on the Walker’s breastfeeding policy. “He didn’t think they had any and gave me a feedback form to fill out,” Mzenga said. She claims in her lawsuit that the incident violated her civil rights. 

“In that moment, I had some dignity taken away from me,” Mzenga said. “As a mom, as a woman, as a nursing mother, I don’t want that to happen to any other mother. Babies need to be fed. You can do that freely.”

According to the Walker’s website, “parents are free to nurse children wherever feels most comfortable”. Bottle feeding, however, is included in the museum’s food-and-drink policy and is not permitted in the galleries.

A Walker spokesperson declined to comment due to the “pending litigation,” but reiterated the museum’s breastfeeding policy: “We welcome and encourage our visitors to breastfeed wherever they’re most comfortable throughout the building, including the galleries. If a visitor asks for a private space, there is a small family-friendly room on the ninth floor with a couch, sink and bathroom. If locked, the key to the space is at the front desk.”

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