Can this new fund chip away at racism in the restaurant world?
Last year, the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation raised $7 million in coronavirus relief for food-service employees nationwide. Now the young nonprofit—founded in 2018—is setting its sights on a long-entrenched problem in both the restaurant scape and U.S. society as a whole. It launched a Racial Justice Fund, which will distribute money to help alleviate inequity in the sector. Details are a bit scant at the moment, but in an interview with Eater, project coordinator Steve Ali made clear that rapid response and undocumented, Black, and immigrant laborers will be high priorities—precisely because those workers are particularly concentrated in the low-wage jobs that have long kept the industry afloat. “As a worker of color, I look at this situation and I wonder, where is my future?” he asked. “How can I expect to live a happy life working in this industry, if from the beginning it has been based on the exploitation of my body, my labor, my passion?” Philanthropy typically hasn’t done a great job at chipping away at injustice, but silver lining: That means there’s more room for new ways of doing things.