January 22, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 4

Feature

Rally, march to honor MLK includes call for higher minimum wage

By RC Staff

Fai Mathews of Seattle holds her portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. at Garfield High School. Mathews said the portrait has been in her family for more than 30 years. Hundreds attended the rally and march at the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Seattle.

Photos by Daniel Bassett

A young marcher pulls her cart down PIne Street.

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Thousands of people attended a Jan 20 rally to honor Martin Luther King Jr. at Garfield High School. Speakers such as King County Councilmember Larry Gossett and Aaron Dixon, founder of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party, both told the overflow crowd the time had arrived for unity. “We gotta find a common cause,” Dixon said.

One cause that drew many to the rally is a push to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Red signs bearing the words “Raise the minimum wage” were interspersed throughout the crowd with others that read, “Rise up! Restore the Dream,” the theme for the 32nd annual celebration.

After the rally, hundreds of people, ranging from children to senior citizens, marched in the sunshine to Westlake Center.

Under a blue midwinter sky, Carlos Hernandez, an employee at Subway who helped organize a fast food worker strike last year, spoke of how higher wages would lift some out of poverty. He was joined by other speakers, including City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who made a push for a $15-an-hour minimum wage the foundation of her recent campaign for office.

King, during the 1963 March on Washington, made numerous demands, including a call for raising the minimum wage from $1.25 to $2.

After the passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act the following year, King began to focus on the eradication of poverty in the U.S. Along with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in early 1968, he helped organize the Poor People’s Campaign. In April 1968, King was assassinated.

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Comments

It should also be added that $2.00 in August 1963 is equivalent to $15.23 according to the Economic Policy Institute.

karandolf53 | submitted on 01/26/2014, 7:34pm


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