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The Kitchen Doors Are Swinging Open!
Over the past month, we've asked you to help us make the release of Behind the Kitchen Door: What Every Diner Should Know About the People Who Feed Us a success — and UUs across the country answered the call!
To recap: we're aiming to get this new book by our partner the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United on the bestseller lists. Why? To help build a movement to improve conditions for millions of restaurant workers who earn poverty wages and lack basic benefits like earned sick leave.
It has been an exciting couple weeks as we've worked with you to get the word out, generate a buzz on social media, and team up with our allies at Standing on the Side of Love to honor compassionate consumption.
We're well on our way to changing the national conversation about restaurant workers!
- Approximately 625 UUSC members (over 100 more than our goal!) told us that they purchased Behind the Kitchen Door — if you did and haven't told us yet, please do!
- Behind the Kitchen Door was the #1 bestseller on Powell's for the critical 10 days after its release.
- The book was ranked #1 on Amazon in three categories and was in the top 400 books sold on Amazon.
- ROC-United's cofounder and codirector Saru Jayaraman was interviewed on Moyers & Company, CNN's Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien, and MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes.
We want to thank the hundreds of UUSC members and supporters who have helped by buying the book; passing information to their friends, congregations, and social circles; sharing videos, infographics, and reviews on social media; and purchasing a copy for their local library or their congregation's lending library.
Behind the Kitchen Door is a bestseller — and you helped make that happen!
All of this was done to help bring restaurant workers' rights the national attention they deserve — and we are gaining momentum! A few more ways you and fellow UUs are helping to do this:
- The Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network (UUPLAN) is working with ROC-Philly to organize UUs, including mobilizing for earned sick days.
- The UU Church of Sarasota is coordinating community-wide Choose Compassionate Consumption activities linking national issues with local community partners.
- Unitarian Society of New Haven's Kid's Service Team are teaching youth about issues facing restaurant workers by creating a board game about how youth can use their consumer power as well as teach adults in their community. To celebrate their work, they will head to a restaurant using the ROC National Diners' Guide.
- First Parish in Plymouth is forming a study action group.
- In Michigan, Ethical and Mindful Eating groups from a number of congregations are coming together with ROC-Michigan to support their local campaigns.
I have also heard from many of you who are organizing book groups, making presentations, coordinating Justice Sunday services about labor rights in the food system, using UUSC's "Paying Customer, Paying Attention" stickers when you eat out, and much more.
We joined with ROC United on this campaign because we know that Behind the Kitchen Door is not just a book — it's an opportunity for Unitarian Universalists to change the national conversation about how to create a truly sustainable food system.
Together we are raising our voices to let policy makers know that we care about the people who feed us and that restaurant workers should be able to afford putting food on their own tables. In February, UUSC helped ROC-United make a big splash to highlight the deplorably low federal tipped minimum wage, which has been stuck at $2.13 per hour for more than 21 years. We participated in a restaurant-worker rally with earned-sick-leave proponent Rep. Rosa DeLauro, accompanied workers to visit their legislators on Capitol Hill, and witnessed the official announcement of the reintroduction of the WAGES Act (H.R. 650) by tipped-minimum-wage champion Rep. Donna Edwards. Stay tuned for legislative action you can take.
While this is only the beginning and it will take a concerted effort, we truly believe that we can win and make a real difference — to not only restaurant workers, but all minimum-wage earners. Thank you to all of you who are joining the movement!