Hi, my name is Pankaj, a 28yrs old Bangladeshi that moved to America with my family 15 years ago. For half my life (14 years) I’ve been working in the restaurant industry and I’ve held a variety of positions: food runner, server, busboy, kitchen helper, bar back and expediter. Even though I have much experience and years of hard work in this work industry, I have been passed on numerous promotions because of my ethnicity. It was evident that no matter how much time, hard work and professionalism I put in, I was not going to be treated as an equal unless I did something about it…

I joined ROC- Michigan two years ago because my vision of a just industry is to see restaurant workers united strongly together and protest for their rights, by voicing their power through unity. I worked in one restaurant for 4 years, and not once was I given a raise or promotion; I saw many of those hired after me receiving promotions, but I was never given the opportunity to advance. Instead of being evaluated on my work performance, I was judged on how I talked and looked—racial and ethnic discrimination that many of us face, nationally, as immigrant workers. All I want is fair working conditions.

I am here in this fight with ROC- Michigan, so my brothers and sisters are not afraid and can have a place to stand up and fight for their rights.