Towards Labor Justice: Behind the Kitchen Door

 “Do you eat ethically?”

I came across this video today and wanted to share it with you. It’s the trailer for what seems to be a very promising book that is soon to be released in Febuary, 2013 called “Behind the Kitchen Door,: What Every Diner Should Know About the People Who Feed Us”.  Written by  Saru Jayaraman,  Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and co-founder an co-director of ROC and the Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Book Description: 

“How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America? And how do poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables? Saru Jayaraman, who launched a national restaurant workers organization after 9/11, sets out to answer these questions by following the lives of ten restaurant workers in cities across the country – New York City, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Detroit, and New Orleans. Blending personal and investigative journalism, Jayaraman shows us that the quality of the food that arrives at our restaurant tables is not just a product of raw ingredients: it’s the product of the hands that chop, grill, sauté, and serve it, and the bodies to whom those hands belong.

Behind the Kitchen Door is a groundbreaking exploration of the political, economic, and moral implications of eating out. What’s at stake when we choose a restaurant is not only our own health or “foodie” experience, but the health and well-being of the second-largest private sector workforce—the lives of 10 million people, many immigrants, many people of color, who bring passion, tenacity, and important insight into the American dining experience.”

Video Directed by Sekou Luke

Visit for more information. I also recommend checking out this conversation over at Racialicious that explores the issue of food justice through the lenses or race, gender and class.

Grace & Peace,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



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Written by

I’m a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities.

“Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian” is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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