Nerd Crush: Saru Jayaraman

Behind The Kitchen Door

Post Authored By: Spark Fellow, Calli Rothberg

Being a foodie has its costs. Pork belly may entice you in, but there is a sordid underbelly in the U.S. restaurant industry. Human rights advocate and food justice powerhouse, Saru Jayaraman, is hell bent on changing restaurant employment and labor issues in America. Fighting brutally for the rights of underpaid and harshly treated workers, Jayaraman is a force to be reckoned with. She leads in educating the public on the importance of the treatment of those serving the food rather than the obsession with the grass-fed meat and organic vegetables being served.

Jayaraman’s passion for eradicating social injustices sparked during her childhood as a first generation American. In 1992 she co-founded a national young women’s organization, Women and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE). Later her work with post 9/11 displaced World Trade Center workers became the foundation of her latest project, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United). She has been making significant strides towards leading in the food justice movement ever since.

Jayaraman co-founded ROC-United in 2008 striving to improve the wages and working conditions of restaurant employees. One in 10 Americans work in the restaurant industry and ROC-United has led and won 13 major campaigns against high-profile restaurant companies. Seven million dollars was obtained in tips, wages, and significant policy changes for workers as Jayaraman’s triumphs continue to go off like fireworks. Incentivizing restaurant owners to create policy change and workers to speak up against improper conditions continues to motivate ROC-United.

Now Jayaraman wants to talk to you. In her acclaimed new book, Behind the Kitchen Door, Jayaraman uncovers the truth about eating out. Highlighting stories where workers with unpaid sick days equal H1N1 in our food. Her interview on Bill Maher caused an intriguing ruckus when giving a preview of the facts put forth in Behind the Kitchen Door. For the past 22 years minimum wage for tipped workers has been stuck at $2.13 per hour and women with children make up 70% of those earning such a trivial amount. These women serve hundreds of people a day, yet they are poverty stricken, unable to serve their own children at home. It’s statistics like these that give Jayaraman the drive and passion to make a change in this world we all live, eat, and breathe in.

SparkSF is thrilled to welcome Saru Jayaraman at our Investment Committee on June 26. Join us as we look behind the kitchen door and mobilize to create a just restaurant industry. Space is limited. Click the link below to purchase tickets. See you there!

http://sparksfkitchendoor.eventbrite.com/

 

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2 responses to “Nerd Crush: Saru Jayaraman

  1. Wonderful! We need more books that make us think about how even the smallest choices like eating out effect the whole world. From treating labor well to serving food that has been treated well, we create a ripple effect. I love eating out, but I don’t want to support restaurants that don’t care about their labor. When I do eat out now, it’s at small places, mostly family run with servers that seem to be truly happy at their jobs which usually means a good employer. At least, I hope they really are being treated well.

    Because of your commitment to social justice, I have nominated your blog for the Inspiring Blogger Award. Whether you accept it or not, keep up the great work.
    http://impoweryou.org/2013/06/20/inspiring-blog-2013/

    • Hi Impower You,

      How fantastic that you’d like to nominate us for the Inspiring Blogger award. We’d love to accept the nomination. It is our mission to empower young people to care about issues affecting women and how best to create impact. Thank you for your interest in our work and supporting women all over the world.

      Please let me know if there is anything else we need to do to accept the nomination.

      Cheers, Amanda Brock

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