For eight years, Corey Menafee would go to his job in food services at Calhoun College and be faced with some of the ugliest historical reminders of the slavery and genocide his ancestors were subjected to.
Calhoun College – run by Yale – is named after pro-slavery advocate John Calhoun. Students and staff alike ran a principled campaign to convince Yale to change the name of the college. In April of this year, Yale chose to ignore their pleas.
And so, every day that Corey punched in and began his shift, he’d face historical portrayals of the “happy” slaves in the cotton fields, etc. Until one day this July, when he finally decided that enough was enough and took care of one particularly egregious stained-glass window.
“I took a broomstick, and it was kind of high, and I climbed up and reached up and broke it,” he told the New Haven Independent. “It’s 2016, I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that.”
No one should be forced to face racist propaganda as a working condition. Corey should have been applauded for doing what needed to be done. Instead, he lost his job and was charged with felony offences.
Yale is beginning to understand that the optics of their response to Corey’s anti-racist direct action is not good for them, but Corey’s employment and legal situation both remain uncertain. We wanted to do our part to make sure that neither Corey nor his family suffers because of his brave actions, so we’ve contributed to his defence. You should do that same!