National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Rallying for a living wage in Missouri

 |  NCR Today

I was at a march and rally Thursday* to raise the wage for fast-food workers. It's the beginning of a union-organizing campaign, and at least 50 of my old friends from other peace and justice campaigns were there. With us were hundreds of young people, black and white, chanting vigorously, "You can't survive on seven-thirty-five." (The minimum wage in the state of Missouri is $7.35.)

We carried signs that read "I am a man" and "I am a woman." A couple of my friends and a few strangers asked me what the sign meant.

I reminded them all of Sojourner Truth's May 29, 1851, speech "Ain't I a Woman?" at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio. Then, in 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s ringing speech to join together was a call to all men -- presumably including women -- to march against poverty. The Memphis sanitation workers on strike the next spring when King was assassinated were carrying signs that read, "I am a man." And finally, I said, if we women of a certain age were working today in a fast-food chain, we'd be called girls.

rectangular-logo.jpgCheck out Global Sisters Report's blog by Jo Piazza, When Nuns Rule. Read it here.

But more than all that history and usage, the signs were an invitation to the men and women who work in fast food to stand with generations of union men and women for living wages.

*An earlier version of this blog named the incorrect day.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.


Friends of NCR 300x80 web ad.jpg

NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

March 27-April 9, 2015


Some articles are only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition.