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Food Fast Workers United


Over the last few months, we have seen the public acts of workers rising up against their unlivable wages and intolerable working conditions.  Here are links to two articles I wrote about their struggle:

Fastfood rally_STL

“Fast food workers are standing up and walking out” is the cover story for where I am a editorial board member.  My banner is “A View from the Battlefront.” 

“Birth of an organizer” is my column in the award-winning St. Louis American and focuses on Chipotle worker Patrick Leeper.

Overstand what these fast food workers are going thru when you roll up to the counter or window of a fast food worker. The total order will probably be more than what that worker makes in an hour. At Micky D’s, a Big Mac, large fries and a big Coke is about $8.50 depending on what part of the country you’re in. Mickey D workers make the federal minimum wage–about $7.25.


Also keep in mind…

  • This is a $200B industry that consumers have helped to create.
  • Most of these foods are low in nutritional value, high in calories, salt and sugar content.
  • Most of these fast food dens are concentrated in poor communities.
  • Workers are often forced to work free (off the clock and don’t get paid overtime).
  • Workers don’t get paid sick days and other benefits like healthcare.


Sequestration: Balancing the budget on the backs of the majority


Join me and Mark Thompson, host of Make It Plain,  for a discussion on sequestration Thursday, May 2 at 7 pm CST/ 8 pm EST. That’s  Sirius/XM Radio channel 127.


A View from the Battlefield, BlackCommentator


In a best case scenario for a squeaking wheel getting the oil, we saw the coming together of media, the airline companies and the Congress itself. But the passage of the bill to ease the FAA’s pain happened so fast, you probably did not see it.

Last week the Congress wasted no time fixing one of the many budget cuts activated under sequestration: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cuts in air traffic personnel resulting in 1,000 daily flight delays. That’s because over 47,000 FAA employees have been forced into taking furlough days and 149 airport towers were closed.

According to an analysis of mainstream media by the Huffington Post, the sequestrations impact on FAA was mentioned far more often than the impacts on areas like Head Start or Medicare. Commerce was being stymied and the One Percenters’ mobility was definitely curtailed. The airline companies filed a suit in federal court. The rest is history. Read more

My Central Park Five Reviews


If you missed the documentary in your hometown, PBS is giving you another chance to check out this riveting documentary. In St. Louis, it will air Tuesday, April 16 at 8 pm on KETC Channel 9.



The Central Park 5: Where were we then and where are we now?

Published by on January 17, 013


Accused rapist Yusef Salaam is escorted by police.

As someone who has done work for years around the prison industrial complex and particularly with wrongful convictions, I was elated when I heard a documentary about “The Central Park Five” was in the works. When the news came that “The Central Park 5” was in selected movie theaters in my city, I passed the announcement on to my Facebook friends, urging them to check it out in their respective hometowns. A friend who has a movie review website heard that I was going and asked that I do a movie review. No problemo.

I ended up going to the theater by myself but expected to see many folks that I knew from the social justice scene. I sat in the back of the theater so that I wouldn’t bother people with my note-taking.

As the theater started to darken for previews of upcoming movies, I noticed that no one else had entered the theater. What the hell was going on? I got up from my seat and went to the hallway but saw no one. I was the only person in the 300+ seating theater. I repeat: I was the only person in the theater to view “The Central Park 5.” Before my anger could rise, the documentary was on and I was pulled into the story and quickly became transfixed on the screen.  Continue reading 


Central Park Five for Nickle Mustard Reviews


Venerable filmmaker Ken Burns joined forces with family to unbury and re-create the infamous case of the Central Park Jogger. The documentary is based upon the book by Burns’ daughter Sarah entitled, “The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding.” Her husband, David McMahon, also collaborated on the riveting film—a mind-blowing montage of newspaper headlines, actual news footage, courtroom sketches and interviews.

In 1989, four black teens and one Latino made forced confessions that would change their lives  and the lives of their families forever. They were Kevin Richardson (14 years old); Antron McCray (15 years old); Yusef Salaam (15 years old); Kharey Wise (16 years old); and Raymond Santana (15 years old). Although all of them didn’t know one another, their lives quickly became tangled as the Central Park Five (CP5).

The juveniles were accused, tried, convicted and sentenced in the brutal assault and rape of Trisha Meili, a young, white, Ivy League investment broker on Wall Street. Most of the media respectfully and intentionally concealed her identity for years until she officially confirmed it in 2003 when she published her memoirs about the case; the media blasted the identity of all the boys from Day One.

I have worked on many local and national cases of wrongful convictions of individuals and groups. Even with that experience, it was painful to watch as Burns stitched together the elements of the story, particularly seeing a scrawny, clueless Kharey Wise being manipulated by police and knowing his overall situation. Wise was sent to the notorious RikersIsland prison where he survived in protective custody for most of his incarceration.   Read more