Today, I was arrested with courageous home care leaders demanding a $15 an hour wage in high-tech, high-cost San Mateo County - SEIU Local 521 President Luisa Blue and home care providers Tonya York and Myrna Bravo.
Members of SEIU Local 521--who care for seniors and people with disabilities--voted to join in acts of civil disobedience because the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors hasn't given 5,000 providers a raise in seven years.
In the days before our protest, I talked with a group of home care workers to find out more about why they were willing to take this extraordinary action. I wanted to know how their families felt, too, and what they hoped would change.
Here are their stories:
Thuy Hoa Do, provides home care for her husband since he was disabled in 2007
Thuy Hoa Do wants to know why one of the richest counties in the state can't afford $15 an hour. The county is so expensive that even the water you drink costs a lot.
Thuy Hoa Do's husband was in a union and when he went on strike, it was hard for him to go early in the morning to face the company's president and tell him he was going home.
Home care providers usually can't leave the people they care for to protest or risk arrest. "We give everything for those we serve," she said.
Though she did not go to jail today, Thuy Hoa Do was willing to risk arrest as a way of caring for her husband and standing up for her co-workers. Her daughter, who is studying at Notre Dame, told her, "You're doing the right thing and I'll always stand by your side."
To Thuy Hoa Do, a raise to $15 is not asking too much. "If the pay is not good, who will go into home care and take care of any of us?"