Feeding People Shows That You Care
I interviewed Malik while conducting oral histories at the occupy Wall Street encampment. I talk about him in my new book Southern Food and civil rights. Malik liked what the People's kitchen, the culinary contribution of the movement that kept it going, was doing and compared to Operation Breadbasket started as an initiative of the SCLC in 1962. By 1966, the SCLC’s Jesse Jackson took the initiative north to Chicago and other northern cities. In 1971, Jackson broke away from the SCLC in a dispute and went on to form Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) in Chicago. PUSH members would go on to organize a number of initiatives such as feeding the hungry to improve conditions in poor urban neighborhoods. PUSH organized boycotts against businesses who discriminated against blacks in their hiring and promotion practices. “When you give tough brothers good food, you can [sit down] with them and get some deep intel [about] what’s troubling them and they won’t rob you during the process,” says Malik as he laughs.