Intelligent, courageous leaders or Stalinist dupes?
Last Wednesday, dozens of CASE volunteers, all of them high school or college students from Phoenix, participated in the Global Action for a $15 dollar minimum wage. Along with hundreds of other students, teachers, workers, and community members, they marched from the Hayden Lawn at the Tempe campus of Arizona State University to a nearby MacDonald’s, where they held a boisterous rally fueled by hopes for a future where everyone who works full time can afford to support their families, gain an education, and enjoy their fair share of the American dream.
And they looked great in the papers. Check out this article, and this one, to see a photo of our volunteers shouting at full voice for a better future for themselves and their families. If you read the articles themselves, though, you will see exactly what these young leaders are up against.
In this article, the full Editorial Board of the Arizona Republic declares “You want $15 and hour? Get an education!” What they fail to mention, though, is that the Arizona legislature has cut funding to our schools for the last 20 years, that tuition at Arizona’s public universities has increased more than that of any other state over the last five years, or that, in 2006, Arizona voters passed an initiative depriving undocumented youth of in-state tuition at Arizona’s public colleges and universities.
Even worse, the second article, by Republic columnist Doug MacEachern, claims that our volunteers, like all the other young people who participated in Wednesday’s Global Action, “were trotted out before the cameras in Tempe” by organizers who, in trying to hold MacDonald’s responsible for the labor practices of it franchisees, are following in the footsteps of “socialists” like Stalin, who went after the petroleum magnate Armand Hammer, or–if you can believe it–Hitler, who villainized the Krupps family of German steel barons.
Calling for a $15 minimum wage–nearly twice the current minimum wage in Arizona–is an intentionally provocative tactic. But, in today’s economy, $15 is barely above the living wage for a head-of-household in Arizona.
CASE’s young leaders are prepared to fight for their future. Our 50 team leaders are right now beginning to recruit between 500 and 1,000 volunteers who, in the coming months, will work to increase Latino voter participation, improve job quality, expand access to Deferred Action and Citizenship, and restore funding to our public schools.
But they cannot do it without your help. Please click here to become a member of CASE and support their efforts. Your donation will help these young people lead a fight that we all need to win. You can also join us as a volunteer. (Drivers are especially welcome!) Just come by our office any Monday at 5 for our weekly leadership meeting to get plugged in.
Please don’t let the naysayers crush the dreams of our young leaders. Join us today!