This piece is special, not only because it was one on my first but also as a restaurant worker at the time I was also telling my own story. As an artist moving to NYC, the restaurant industry I hoped would’ve provided me the flexibility to go to audition and take on project. But face with the struggle of making it in NYC, like so many artists, the restaurant industry soon became my main stay. I became a working American who “needed” my job to survive. I also quickly became awaken to the illegal and dehumanizing working environments experience as restaurant workers. Yet, change seemed impossible; thats just the way this industry operates. So I, like so many other restaurant workers in this country, with impeding financially realities as reason, figured, deal with it.
Thats when I met Saru Jayaraman and the Restaurant Opportunity Center. Though I considered myself educated and politically aware ( Hey, I even nerd out on NPR podcasts ), I was not “organized” and “activated”. I do believe that organizing as a community is key to changing and transforming our power structures and cultural values. With the help of ROC , we the workers organized NYC largest restaurant worker campaign and took on the Fireman Hospitality Group.