Dear friends, As you know, next Tuesday is Election Day! Here in New York, there are a number of very close races that will influence our ability to raise the wage, pass the Dream Act, fund our public schools, protect farmworkers' rights, and so much more in New York State in the coming years!
Thousands of clergy, moral leaders and community members will be rallying at state capitols across the United States on August 28th, the 51st Anniversary of the March on Washington, to demand representative leadership characterized not by corruption and greed but by morality and compassion. The rallies are the culmination of a Moral Week of Action, spearheaded by Rev. Dr. William Barber and the North Carolina NAACP - leaders of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina. Beginning Aug. 21, marches in Raleigh and elsewhere will call for labor rights, living wages, quality public education, criminal justice reform and access to healthcare. On Aug. 28, New Yorkers will add our voices to this national movement for leadership that prioritizes the well-being of all people, rather than the narrow interests of the very wealthy.
Though this year’s legislative session is over, the fight for higher wages continues. Last year, when legislation that will raise the minimum wage in New York from $7.25 per hour to $9.00 by the end of 2015 was passed, a large sector of workers were excluded from the raise. Tipped workers - restaurant servers and hotel workers - were left with a frozen minimum wage of just $5.00 per hour.
From Angela Nelson: I’ve been in this position for about a month, but at one day a week in the office, it feels like barely a week. So for my fourth day on the job, we sent three of us from Labor-Religion to the Capitol Takeover action around raising the minimum wage. I had done one action as a seminarian in Chicago, protesting the bankers and foreclosures, but really had no idea what I was getting into at the time, except that it was exciting and felt a bit dangerous. At both of these actions we cried out ‘shame on you!’ Classism, it seems, is the biggest and most stubborn of the walls to come down before we achieve equality.