Eleven women in Los Angeles started fasting on April 16 demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage. They say, if working women and mothers in California are to thrive, as opposed to barely survive, they need to start earning a living wage.
On April 15, thousands of fast-food, home care, childcare and other low-wage workers from over 226 cities took to the streets demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage.
A day later, a group of women in Los Angeles launched a 15-day fast demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage in the city of Los Angeles. The City is currently considering raising the minimum wage to $15.25 by 2019.
They call themselves L.A Women Fasting for $15 and they’re mothers, fast food workers, attorneys, labor leaders and advocates. And they’re refusing to wait five more years to earn $15 an hour. They say that anything less than $15 is simply not enough in an expensive city like Los Angeles. Anything less than $15 is poverty.
They are fasting publicly on the City Hall’s South Lawn in order to raise awareness in the community and to pressure City Council officials into raising the minimum wage.
Mary Carmen Farfan, a mother and fast food worker, told La Opinion, “I work so much and can’t make ends meet. I’m fighting for my children and to be able to meet their basic needs.”
While the L.A. Women have been fasting, young activists and supporters have been canvassing their local neighborhoods. They are going door to door urging their neighbors to call their council members and to sign a pledge in support of raising the minimum wage.
Gilda Valdez explains on the group’s Facebook page, “History has shown us that ‘hunger tactics’ are used for serious reasons. We believe that raising the minimum wage to allow working people to survive is extremely serious! Forty-eight percent of workers in Los Angeles are paid under $15. I pray that the Mayor and the Council have the courage to do what’s right for the working people of Los Angeles.”
It’s Day 12 and though their bodies grow weaker, their commitment grows stronger. The Women’s Foundation of California stands in solidarity with these brave women calling for change.