“We Rise Together, Homie.” Black Worker Fired For Viral Video Commentary Supporting Mexican Workers

Written by Ann Brown

A video of an employee walkout in Indianapolis went viral and got the person who filmed it fired. Sounds pretty straightforward but it wasn’t.

According to The Root, a group of construction workers building a UPS facility in Indianapolis walked off the job last week after accusing one of the bosses of racism. Many of the workers were fired. While all this was going on, welder Antoine Dangerfield, 30, caught the whole incident on video. He posted the video and it went viral. So far, it has been viewed two millions of times on Facebook, nearly 800,000 times of YouTube, and on sites such as WorldStarHipHop (three hundred thousand). The video led to Dangerfield also being fired.

“They are not bullshitting!” he says as Latino workers walk off. Referring to the boss, he says, “They thought they was gonna play with these amigos, and they said, ‘aw yeah, we rise together, homie.’ And they leaving! And they not bullshitting!”

Here’s the backstory, according to Dangerfield via Jacobin magazine: “There was a safety guy. He was just a racist, basically–always messing with anybody who’s not white. The Hispanics just stayed out of his way. They warned each other when he came because they knew he was always messing with them, taking pictures and videos, trying to get them fired. We have safety meetings, and we usually have a translator [for Spanish speakers] because there are so many.”

During a safety meeting and they needed someone to translate. One of the Mexican workers was asked to do so, when he didn’t want to “[the coordinator] got mad, real red-faced. Next thing you know, he dismissed the meeting. So he’s walking around just sending them home, trying to fire them. So he sent like five or six of them home,” Dangerfield told Jacobin magazine. He added, “So the Hispanics got together and were like, ‘Nah. We got families and kids. We’re not about to let these dudes just do whatever.’ So they took a stand.”

That’s when the on-site protest happened. The bosses were not happy, especially since Dangerfield videotaped it. But the company tried to pay him to delete.

“Because I went back to pick up my last check and my welding gear. That was when they offered me $250 to take it down. It was at 1.1 million views on Facebook at that point. So there was nothing I could do,” he says. “They’re a cool company. I don’t really have anything against them. But when you see wrong being done, you should step up and do something about it.

Dangerfield says he has no regrets. “All the hate going on–we need to stick together. I think Black people are moving in the right direction. We were down for a minute with the crack era. And you see the news, a lot of killings in the black community. Sometimes we don’t come together. But if they can do it, we can do it. And we can all come together. There’s power in numbers.”

A GoFundMe has been set up for Dangerfield, with more than $30,000 having been raised.

 

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About Ann Brown
Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. Her work has appeared in CocoaFab, Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire.com, New York Trend, Upscale, Moguldom, AFKInsider, The Network Journal, Playboy, Africa Strictly Business, For Harriet, Pathfinders, Black Meetings & Tourism, Frequent Flier, Girl, Honey, Source Sports, The Source, Black Radio Exclusive, and Launch. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cabo Verde,” a Facebook community.