by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Imagine a 21-year-old unnamed young man supporting his 20-year-old girlfriend and their 6-day-old son. He has a 2.8 GPA at Chicago State, and he just earned the title of Outstanding Cadet in his ROTC unit. He serves as manager at a local McDonald’s, and he is about to be deployed to The Middle East. Suddenly, his son dies. He calls in to his McDonald’s boss and asks for time off to see about his girlfriend and make funeral preparations for their newborn child. His boss tells him something similar to “I don’t care – if you miss work you’re fired.” The young man misses his shift the next day and is fired. This is where the Republican black advocate Lenny McAllister comes in.
It so happens that this young man was one of McAllister’s mentees. McAllister, at the time, was the host of a booming radio show called “Launching Chicago with Lenny McAllister” on WVON. As a political commentator and writer for CNN and The Root, he used his power as a well known public figure to call for a protest of the McDonald’s owned by Keith Allan. The Root reports that McAllister, “called for a ‘McDonald’s Holiday,’ essentially a boycott of Allen’s [five] McDonald’s restaurants,” while on the air of his radio show. According to reports, his audience was outraged that the young man had been fired and actually did boycott.
Everything was going well in that sense until WVON got a call from the Black McDonald’s Operators of America saying they would pull out all of their ads if the boycott was not ended. The Root reports that “Executives at WVON told McDonald’s that his (McAllister’s) tenure at the station was under ‘review,’ which everyone knows is business speak for ‘about to get fired.'” McAllister did indeed make a public statement on his radio station to end the boycott. In fact, adequate funds were even raised to take care of the baby’s funeral. One would think that everything would have been good at that point, but that is not the case. McAllister was fired by WVON the next day.
Ayvaunn Penn is the founder of Your Black Poets and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. To inquire about her freelance editing services, click here. To like Ayvaunn on Facebook, click here.