My Fight for Justice

By Tiffani Patton and Mackenzie Feldman

It was standing room only Wednesday night at a panel discussion with Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, the Bay Area school groundskeeper who took on Monsanto and won.

It was Lee’s first public appearance since his win against the agrochemical giant Monsanto. In the first of over 8,000 similar cases to go to court nationwide, Monsanto was found guilty of acting with malice and negligence when not disclosing the cancer risks associated with the use of glyphosate, the chemical used in popular herbicide Roundup. The landmark win was filled with sadness—the win does nothing for the “death sentence” Lee has already been dealt, as he is in the final stages of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma caused by years of Roundup use. Lee is staying engaged in the fight for public health “because it means a lot to me that after the verdict cities immediately stopped using the formula on school grounds and whole communities.”  

Wednesday’s event, “My Fight For Justice,” featured Lee Johnson alongside UC Berkeley Integrative Biology professor Tyrone Hayes and Planting Justice Educator Diane Williams. The three had an “organic conversation” around what this landmark trial means for the fight to put health over corporate profit, and discussed how to get toxic chemicals not only out of public spaces but out of our food system as well.

This event was hosted by Herbicide-Free Cal, a campaign to get herbicides out of the green spaces at UC Berkeley, co-founded by Bridget Gustafson and former Real Food Media intern Mackenzie Feldman. Since graduating from UC Berkeley in the Spring, Mackenzie has launched Herbicide-Free UC, with the mission of stopping the use of herbicides across all University of California campuses.

Check out the great coverage in local media about this event:


Header photo by Pexels