New Restaurants: Does Their Workforce Look Like Oakland?


Like a lot of Oaklanders, Professor Kitty Kelly Epstein, likes to check out some of the new restaurants that are opening up in our city She noticed that many of them had no Black employees.


She brought this up last week on her KPFA radio show, Education Today, and on her Facebook page. The response was overwhelming.

People sent her emails and messages promising to bring the issue up with the restaurant managers and suggesting tactics to campaign for more Black employment.

When she checked back at the new places on Grand and Lakeshore this week, she found that the complaining seems to be having an effect. Each of the restaurants she had contacted seemed to have one Black employee during the shift when she stopped by.

“That’s progress compared to a few weeks ago,” said Epstein. “However, a third of the residents of Oakland are African-American. Fairness means that a restaurant shift of 15 people would include at least 5 Black employees. “

This is not a small issue. Black unemployment rates are twice as high as white unemployment in the U.S.

According to Epstein, “We should let restaurants, stores, colleges, developers, and construction contractors know that our personal dollars and our tax dollars won’t go to places that don’t hire Black people in significant numbers for all types of jobs”


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