We Rise Together, Homie

 

Shutting it down. Screenshot.

Scrap of Hope Alert: Last week, over 100 mostly Latino construction workers were on a UPS building site in Indianapolis when a white boss known for hassling them - "He was just a racist, basically - always messing with anybody who’s not white" - tried to fire several workers after one refused his request to translate a meeting. They had no union, but they'd had enough. "They just decided today’s the day," says Antoine Dangerfield, a black welder and co-worker. "The Hispanics got together and were like, 'Nah. We got families and kids. We’re not about to let these dudes just do whatever.' So they took a stand."

In a stirring act of solidarity - fainthearted White House press, take note - all 100-plus workers packed their stuff and walked out in an impromptu strike as Dangerfield, exultantly narrating the action, filmed them. "They are not bullshitting!” he proclaims gleefully as a stream of co-workers passes him. "(The bosses) thought they was gonna play with these amigos, and they said, ‘Aw yeah, we rise together, homie.’ And they leaving!...The Mexicans shut this motherf*cker down!"

In an interview with Jacobin Magazine, Dangerfield describes what happened next. When word of the video he'd posted reached his bosses, they fired him - as well as the racist boss - but not before shadily offering him, when he returned to work to collect his equipment, $250 to take it down. By then a million people had viewed it - now it's over three million - so, sorry amigos, he saw no point. Meanwhile, Dangerfield has been blown away by the response, the support - a GoFundMe page for him has raised almost $40,000 - and the "life-changing" experience of seeing his cohorts, the putting-it-on-the-line workers who "make the heads get rich," shut down the site for their principles.

"I just felt that power, man. It just felt good," he says. "They were walking out with their heads up, strong. It was beautiful that they came together like that. They were proud of themselves, like they’re supposed to be." On Facebook, he celebrated "UNITY," adding, "Black people, take some notes...We need this." Never mind "all the hate going on," he says. "If they can do it, we can do it. And we can all come together."

Dangerfield with his son. Facebook photo

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