By Katherine Gage, Copy Editor
The American Dream Reconsidered conference which took place last week was one of my favorite Roosevelt events yet. The seats in each panel were filled and the discussions sparked conversations about how the Roosevelt community wants to create change.
While attending the panels it was not hard to notice a banner which said McDonald’s was proudly sponsoring the conference. A professor next to me commented as well, mentioning how we know better than to take money from anyone willing to throw it at us if it goes against our beliefs.
The reason behind the corporate McDonald’s supporting sponsorship is alumni Patricia Sowell Harris, who after graduation went on to become McDonald’s Global Chief Diversity officer.
Everyone knows Roosevelt has dug itself into massive debt with the construction of the Wabash building, and now that it’s time to pay off our loans our enrollment has taken a dip. But does that mean we should take just corporate money?
With business practices such as having employees work on Christmas day without overtime pay that the corporation profits off of, workers forced in dangerous work situations around hot grills and deep fryers, low-income families are forced to live on minimum wage and patronize these restaurants. McDonald’s seems to have very little to do with social justice.
Once again faced with the McDonald’s logo on the cover of a book titled “None of Us is as Good as All of Us” by Patricia Sowell Harris in the library, McDonald’s social justice was dabbling at Roosevelt.
Harris wrote in the book that she wrote it about McDonald’s history of embracing inclusion and diversity through “fairness, honesty, integrity and opportunity (to) give people a common ground of understanding about the value of diversity and inclusion.”
The quick read was pleasant and informative of the ties McDonald’s has to the state of Illinois, as well as informing that there are two alumni of Roosevelt in McDonalds; Harris, as well as Herman Petty who became president of McDonald’s corporation.
All profits earned from the sale of the book are donated to Ronald McDonald Charities, but it never touched on the harder issues that McDonald’s chokes us with, instead continuing praising their efforts on sexism, Hispanic recruiting, and hiring women workers.
Next year’s American Dream Conference is scheduled to have guest speaker Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If McDonalds is what helps fund this opportunity perhaps I’ll shut up and take the greasy money- for now.