ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A protest to show support for an activist who was fired after getting involved in a racial dispute in St. Charles drew fewer than a dozen people on Wednesday.
Nine people, one carrying an American flag, another holding a “Black Lives Matter” sign, joined Umar Lee in front of the Laclede Cab offices on Vandeventer.
Despite the small turnout, Lee was upbeat.
“It’s 9:30 in the morning. It’s early. It’s not a good time, but I’m glad everyone that showed up brought their energy and spirit to the occasion.”
Lee says he was fired because of the type of activism he’s involved in.
“It’s because they disagree politically and they’re big funders of (St. Louis Police Officers Association Business Manager) Jeff Roorda and (former Ferguson Police Officer) Darren Wilson.”
Laclede President Adam McNutt says that’s not the case.
“We asked Umar not to involve our vehicle in any of his activities. He did, so we parted ways.”
Lee is calling for a boycott of the company where he worked for 10 years, saying it supports the wrong people and organizations.
“The foundation of cab ridership is inner-city, is heavily African-American,” he says. “They’re taking that money, the hard-earned money from the people, and they’re giving that money to Jeff Roorda, Darren Wilson …”
Lee says while he worked at Laclede for 10 years, he was trying to organize a union.
“It was rotten to the core from the beginning. An organized union takes a long time. It’s rigged against the drivers,” he says.
McNutt says he was not aware of Lee’s union organizing efforts.
In addition to calling for a boycott of Laclede, Lee says he will continue trying to organize its drivers, from the outside.
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