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April 4, 2017 (San Diego) It was part of the national Fight for $15 remembrance of Martin Luther King’s murder 49 years ago. The press conference was headlined by Dr. Kyra Greene, the Deputy Director for the Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI).
She said that today was a day to remember the death of Doctor Martin Luther King, assassinated in Memphis 49 years ago when he stood with sanitation workers. They were striking “for better pay and working conditions.”
“What Doctor King said throughout his work, and in different words than the ones we use today, was that black lives matter.” She added that Doctor King said before his assassination, which is still true today, “If something isn’t done, and done in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty; their long years of hurt and neglect; the whole world is doomed.”
Greene also said that Doctor King understood that racial and economic justice were deeply connected. “If we pass and enforce laws that address the floor of exploitation that plague black workers, we will address the exploitation of all workers.”
She went on to say that “we are here today to demand that something be done for workers of color. The struggle is far from over. Today more than half of all black workers in America are paid less than $15 dollars an hour. Nearly 60 percent of latino workers are paid less than $15 dollars and hour. I am standing here on what is called equal pay day, but it is not equal pay day for women of color. Black women in the city of San Diego are paid 50 cent to every dollar that white men are paid in the city. And Latina women are paid 37 cents to every dollar that while men are paid.”
She went on to demand that the city enforces those voter-driven initiatives that were voted in. Yet the Mayor refuses to do such, giving comfort to those who exploit workers.
To point the nature of the story Danyelle Baines, who works at one of the city’s many Jack in the Box (one of the busiest) spoke next. She is one of those workers who makes sure you get your budget and soda, and fries. She said that her fellow workers are some of the hardest working people she has ever known. Fast food is not easy work, and it can be very hard. She also pointed out something else. At times they work a full shift, with no breaks. They just get paid a little more, like $8 dollars an hour. She knows this is illegal.
A second worker addressed the crowd. He worked at a place where he never got overtime pay, even though he did work overtime. Or for that matter a break. He addressed the group in Spanish, with a translator (why he is not in the video we put together). He was threatened many times with being fired if he did complain or insist on his break, or overtime pay. Now he is having to fight the insurance company to get his medical needs taken care off.
The group marched to the mayor’s office, while Reporting San Diego went to the 12th floor since Mario Briones was to address the City Council as well. He told them that a group was on the 11th floor demanding the Mayor enforce these initiatives, such as the minimum wage ordinance.