While visiting SEIU Locals 99 and 721, I found myself inspired by our members who are leading the way to make change in their communities - whether it’s fighting for $15 in their contracts or demanding $15 for everyone who works in the city and county of Los Angeles.
Working people such as Kenya Poston have been a voice of support and encouragement for her fellow sisters and brothers; reminding them that when times are hard, they have a family of 2 million people standing behind them ready to lock arms.
We lock arms on behalf of our families and the communities we serve. We lift our voice in the demand that we build an economy that works for everyone, regardless of your race or gender, who you love, or the ZIP code where you live. We lock arms with 11 million immigrants in our country who are forced to live in the shadows because of partisan politics. We stand firm with every working person who has experienced racial discrimination because systems of oppression still exist.
I see this support demonstrated by people such as Dawn Barrett from 32BJ. She traveled in solidarity to be with her brothers and sisters and share the strength in our collective voice— a collective voice that continues the Fight for $15 in places where we meet hostility against paying people a livable wage. We know that when families are able to earn a living wage and support their communities, we succeed together.
One thing that unites us is our belief that when we come together, we can meet any challenge we face. By linking arms with people from all walks of life, we were able to achieve a livable wage in Los Angeles and now we are witnessing far reaching benefits. This is evident in the stories shared by our sister Lilian Cabral. She described the amazing ways wins from the Fight for $15 are improving the lives of her patients. Many of these patients were underpaid and struggling to take care of their families. Now, they have a better quality of life and the opportunity to contribute within their communities.
It felt like family at each place that I visited and I’m thankful for each and every member with whom I had the chance to speak. Your stories are the stories that drive this work and we will continue to join together to achieve the kind of country that we all want. A country where it is possible to give your family a good life; to live free, happy and healthy; and welcomes everyone that comes to make our country better.