By Valerie D. Lockhart
SUN EXECUTIVE EDITOR
“Mental slavery is the worst form of slavery. It gives you the illusion of freedom, makes you love, trust and defend your oppressor while making an enemy of those trying to free you or open your eyes.” – The Mind’s Journal
A rude awakening overcame me, as I was released from my mental bondage and realized that I was a slave on the Rock Plantation. My employment began in December 2012, but it would take six years for me to realize my status and to gain my freedom.
“Life on the fields meant working sunup to sundown six days a week… The overseer was paid to get the most work out of the slaves; therefore, overseers often resorted to whatever means was necessary,” according to www.ushistory.org.
Similar to slave plantations, many workers at the Quicken Loans family of companies must work 10 to 12 hour shifts during the week and up to 8 hours on Saturday.
“Differences between the work of house servants and field hands led to sharp social class distinctions within the plantation system. Socially speaking, house servants were considered a privileged class among the enslaved population. Because of their physical proximity to the home of the plantation owner, they often absorbed the culture and associated material benefits of the master,” according to www.encyclopedia.com.
Out of about 17,000 workers in downtown Detroit, there are reportedly less than a dozen African Americans among the “privileged class” serving as a vice president at Quicken Loans. Yet, they are reminded of their inferior and subservient roles each time they visit the Quicken Loans website, click on about us and scroll down to the Press Room. No faces of color are pictured under the Leadership Team. And, there are some departments where there are no African American workers.
Brainwashing was used to control slaves. They were forced to speak a new language, adopt a new way of thinking, and trust their enslavers.
Employees at the Quicken Loans family of companies are hoodwinked into adopting a “culture of excellence” that is supposedly achieved by following a set of rules known as “ISMs”. Yet, these rules are often broken by those enforcing them.
Just as in slavery, older workers, at Quicken Loans, are reportedly prohibited from working certain jobs. The company has been accused of practicing age and race discrimination. Lawsuits have also been filed against the company for discriminating against some with disabilities and for denying employment to those having a criminal record for a crime committed long ago.
My freedom moved me to file a lawsuit against Quicken Loans for race and age discrimination.
Over the last six years, I have applied for about 15 positions that involved communications and/or journalism that I was over qualified to perform its duties. I was denied each one, and the position was filled by a person outside of the company. This was in violation of one of their ISMs, “We eat our own dog food.”
“Tying the threads and leveraging ideas and connections within our Family of Companies is what it’s all about – that’s eating our own dog food. The basis of all wealth is found in the strength of the relationships you make. Create them. Seek them out. Build upon them. Be loyal to them. If your level of awareness is high, you will find an endless amount of “dog food” around you. The more you give to these relationships, the more you will get from them. So start giving – now.”
Using my 20-year long investigative reporting experience, I was able to determine who was hired for an Internal Communications Manager position, which was the last position I applied for, and obtained their resume. This position would have moved me out of the “field” and into the “house”.
Further research revealed that the entire Internal Communications team was made up of all Caucasian workers, who are all under 35 years old and have significantly less experience than I have. Prior to joining Quicken Loans as an intern, the hiring leader mowed grass and worked in a clothing store.
I tried to catfish them by submitting a resume with my skills but a Caucasian person’s name and address, but they didn’t take the bait.
Following proper protocol, I filed a complaint with the Quicken Loans human resource department. Their investigation, of course, found no wrongdoing.
I then filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was given a letter that provided me with a right to sue Quicken Loans.
To win the case, I must prove that I’m over 40 years old, possess the necessary skills and qualifications to successfully perform the job, and the person hired was under 35 years old and less experienced.
Realizing that I have a solid case that could potentially cost millions, Quicken Loans’ attorneys, Butzel Long, have turned to bullying tactics.
They have requested I turn over my laptops, personal computers, cell phones, email and flash drives to undergo a forensic inspection. They also requested my tax returns for the last 10 years and medical records.
However, the laptops, personal computers, cell phones and two email accounts are not under my personal name, but are the possessions of the Detroit Native Sun Newspaper Group LLC. I filed the lawsuit against Quicken Loans as an individual that is separate from any corporate dealings.
Are they going to ask the Michigan Chronicle or Detroit News to turn over any computers or emails I sent them, while working at those companies?
My failure to comply will supposedly give them grounds to have the case dismissed.
I often wondered why during two dispositions their attorneys kept asking me who I have told about this case. At the time, there were only a few. Now, the world will know thanks to my inheritance of a activist/fighting DNA.
The blood of activists runs through my veins. My grandmother, Bertha Barnes, was one of the founding members of the SEIU Local 79 and fought tirelessly for labor rights in nursing and convalescent homes. Her brother, Theodus Lockhart, was president of the Leavenworth NAACP, fighting for civil rights.
I was taught at a young age to stand up to injustice even if I’m the only one standing. Therefore, I will not back down nor sit down and will utilize all resources at my disposal to expose their alleged wrongdoing.
Just as David tackled Goliath head on, I will face off with Quicken Loans. With God on my side, no one can defeat me.
An uprising is underway on the Rock Plantation, and I’m leading the charge.
“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind.” - Marcus Garvey
And, now I’m free to use my mind!