Jacobin Magazine pubblica un’intervista a Terrence Wise, punto di riferimento di Fight for $15, il movimento che negli Stati Uniti si batte per un salario minimo dignitoso.
I’m a full-time McDonald’s worker, and she’s a certified nursing assistant, taking care of some of the most vulnerable citizens on the planet. My mom told me that if you work hard, are a law-abiding citizen, then everything will work out. That’s the American way. But we’ve done that. Folks hear that my family has been homeless and they think, “Hold on, something is wrong here. These folks are working full time. They must be on drugs, they must be making bad decisions.” No, we’re not. We want what’s best for our three little girls. We work hard and we try to provide for our family. It’s not a failure of ours, it’s these low wages.
At the beginning of the pandemic, they shut down our kids’ school, and my daughters were sick — thank God it wasn’t COVID-19 — but my fiancé missed days of work because of sickness, and I missed a few days helping take care of the family. But when you miss a few days, there goes rent, there goes the gas bill, there goes the car payment. You don’t have paid sick leave or paid time off, so every day, every hour missed from work is truly felt. You’re trying to juggle bills, pay half of rent here, make a promissory note there, and you fall in a tumble. Eventually, we faced eviction right around last February or March, at the start of the pandemic.
We moved in with my brother-in-law and his family of five. Add my family of five and that’s ten folks in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house, so social distancing goes out the window. There’s a mental aspect too: my kids have to live through it. We’re trying to keep their lives in as high a quality we can in the midst of a pandemic and being homeless. It’s a real rough journey. But I know it’s through no fault of mine, my fiancé, or my children. We do the best we can to avoid these situations, but there’s something terribly wrong with the system. It’s a broken system.
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