Workers protested again in front of Market of Choice off of Willamette Street on July 4th, a day they say is one of the busiest days of the year for the company. They have been protesting on and off for over two week against the company’s ban on Black lives matter masks.
“People are protesting to get Market of Choice to hold up to what they said. They said Black lives matter. They wanted to support it, but they won’t allow employees to do that,” Aaron Isaacs, a Market of Choice employee who participated in the July 4th protest told me. “The same thing that they’ve said publicly on their social medias, and to the media directly, that Black lives matter. They support it, they won’t let employees express the same exact thing they are.”
On the 4th, over a dozen workers and community members stood outside on the sidewalk in front of the store for five hours with signs. There were a few hecklers, shouting “all lives matter,” but most people that passed by were supportive. They even received a supportive of honk from Mayor Lucy Vinis, who was leaving the parking lot in her car.
At the protest, workers drew other connections to racial injustices perpetuated by the company like their sale of products produced with prison labor. Sydney Rivera, another Market of Choice worker, has spoken out about discrimination she has faced in the workplace.
Employees have faced retaliation from the company, having their names removed from the schedule or given the option to remove their BLM mask or hand in their keys.
Community members can support the cause by showing up to protests, sharing messages on social media, or signing this Change.org petition.
Between June 18 and June 26, Off the Waffle laid off 17 workers and 10 others quit because of inappropriate behavior by its owner Omer Orian. Some say they were laid off because of their support for the Black lives matter movement. Many workers say Orian made sexist comments.
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Inmates speak out about the unsafe conditions at the Lane County Jail. Some are participating in a hunger strike. Lane County Mutual Aid and Stop Death on the Streets organized an action in solidarity last Wednesday. Eugene police arrested one person that night, but through community support a friend was able to raise bond for him.
The week ahead
Tuesday, 5 PM — WildChat: the fight for Thurston Hills by Cascadia Wild
Tuesday, 5:30 PM — Special Human Rights Commission meeting by City of Eugene
Wednesday, 5:30 PM — City manager contract council committee meeting by City of Eugene
Thursday, 3 PM — Renewal and resiliency: how to prevent activist burnout by CLDC
Saturday, 9:30 AM — Saturday Burrito Brigade (Food for Lane county) by Eugene Burrito Brigade
View more events at solidarity.page