Exploited Wonks holds #Justice4Ana rally
Protesters say Ana Ebanks was unjustly terminated
Last week, Aramark food service employee Ana Ebanks claimed she was fired for missing 40 minutes of work because of a Washington College of Law class. This week, students, staff and other Aramark employees gathered at the steps of the MGC to speak out and rally together to demand that she be reinstated in her position.
The rally, hosted by the Justice for AU Workers Coalition and AU Student Worker Alliance, drew more than 100 people to the steps of MGC on Tuesday afternoon. Speakers at the rally included Ana Ebanks, her daughter Josselyn Ebanks, who is also an Aramark employee at AU, the founder of the Exploited Wonk campaign Carlos Vera and other student leaders and Aramark workers.
“I’m just asking for help here, help for my mother, help for myself,” Josselyn Ebanks told the crowd.
This is the first rally held since last April’s “Hold Aramark Accountable” rally. This time, protesters carried signs reading “No more profits over people,” “Students demand a fair workplace” and more to show their support.
“T[he] the only emotion I was feeling was anger that she was terminated for wanting to continue her education and to improve herself and her life,” sophomore protester Taeja Milton said.
Ana Ebanks herself spoke to the crowd, speaking about how her termination for missing 40 minutes of work because of a class was an injustice to workers. She continued by saying she’s not the only one that this has happened to and believes will happen to. She spoke out against Aramark, citing that this is not the first time the company has treated workers unfairly.
“Today for me, tomorrow for others,” Ana Ebanks said during the rally.
Josselyn Ebanks’ speech included a call to action against injustices done by Aramark. Josselyn was removed from campus by public safety and banned from AU for an alleged altercation with a coworker last spring. She was later rehired.
“You know last year they did it to me and now they’re doing it to my mom,” Josselyn Ebanks said during the rally. “...If they do it to one worker, this will continue with more workers... It will happen to everyone. So we have to stand together and we have to fight back.”
Following speeches by other protesters, including Christine Hamlett-Williams, a cashier at the P.O.D. Mini Mart, the rally was moved inside to storm the office of Ken Chadwick, Director of Aramark Dining, to demand Ana’s job be reinstated.
Because of Chadwick’s absence from his office at the time, the storming of the office turned into a sit-in until two Public Safety officers came in to clear the area for any fire hazards. Students and other protestors then stood and chanted in the office and hallway until the office shut down at 5 p.m.
“It is our duty to fight for their freedom,” the crowd chanted. “It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
Because Chadwick was not in the office, the AU Student Worker Alliance plans on having daily protests in Chadwick’s office until Ana is rehired, starting today at 1 p.m. The rally ended with protesters marching outside again, this time to a different chant.
“If we don’t get no justice, then you don’t get no peace,” they chanted.