On Monday, Rev. Dr. William Barber II’s Moral Mondays movement teamed up with the Fight for $15 and hit the streets in the capitals of 31 states. Fight for $15 workers joined with faith leaders to call for economic justice for the 64 million workers across the country make less than $15 an hour.
Popeyes cashier Fran Marion, who’s worked there in Kansas City, Missouri for the last two years, headed to her state capitol for the protests — she demanded a raise from her current pay of $9.50 an hour so she can build a better life for her two kids.
“I’ve been making the same amount of money since I was 15, and I’m 36,” she said. “I don’t want my kids growing up with the same struggles I had.”
“I have rent, I have the gas bill, water bill, phone bill,” she said. “Each month you got to choose between your kids and the rent, or your kids and the light bill. My kids, they suffer.”
One of the cornerstones of the day was remembrance across the country for Myrna De Los Santos — a Missouri fast-food worker who recently died from ongoing medical issues that worsened as De Los Santos was unable to access healthcare. She lacked adequate medical benefits from work, and from Missouri’s weak social safety net wasn’t there to help out since she made a little too much to be eligible.
Fran Marion also knew De Los Santos. “Due to her low wage, she wasn’t able to afford health care to take care of her diabetes,” Marion said. “If Myrna had Medicaid, and if the Medicaid law was passed, we do believe in our hearts Myrna would be standing with us today.”
“We’re going to continue the fight until we will in her honor so that none of us are faced with that,” she said.
Our Fight for $15 movement has won unprecedented victories since our first action in New York in 2012. We have won $15 in New York State, California, and in cities across America. But this fight is far from over. We are going to keep pushing until we win $15 and union rights for all.
“Economic justice, poverty, and living wages…all the things that have to do with the just economy are the first principle of any truly religious moral endeavor,” Rev. Barber II said. “Jesus starts his public ministry talking about the poor.”
“These are deep, deep moral issues in our time,” he said.