The Coup’s Boots Riley Cancels Speaking Engagement in Support of Striking Workers
Boots Riley of Oakland based group The Coup recently cancelled an appearance at the University of California at Berkeley in support of striking campus custodians. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, actor Danny Glover—who was scheduled to give the keynote speech at the school’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday—also pulled out at the last minute. Boots, who was set to speak at the school’s African American Studies Department commencement on Saturday (May 12), originally planned on using the event to address the situation. “However,” he said, “being that the speaking theme I was given was ‘Revolution: Command Change,’ I feel the best way to embody the theme is not to give lip service to it but to show that we must be involved in the struggles that are happening to us every day.” School custodians are demanding pay raises for workers at the UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz campuses. According to their union, a custodian at the University of California earns just $12.00 per hour compared to the $18.25 earned by workers at Peralta Community College in nearby Oakland. In a posting on The Coup’s Myspace blog, Boots notes that, should the union and the university reach an agreement prior to Saturday, he will deliver the speech.