Moral Mondays fight for higher wages

Moral Mondays fight for higher wages, other issues

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The activists who gathered on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse to announce their new coalition last month wanted their voices to be heard: A low minimum wage is bad for people and the economy.

Touting arguments common in the minimum wage debate — that inflation has outpaced wage growth and that public welfare programs drain taxpayer dollars — they criticize state legislators for inaction and challenge them to better understand the difficulties of living on $7.25 an hour.

“For those who don’t support increasing the minimum wage, I challenge you to live my life for a week,” said McDonald’s employee Destiny Martin, surrounded by about 40 other activists. “Then tell me if I deserve a substantial wage.”

It’s one of the focal issues for Indiana Moral Mondays, one of a dozen groups cropping up nationwide with the goal of rolling back what they call “extremist” state laws.

Higher wages, a fast food labor union, voting reforms, environmental sustainability, higher public school funding, fairer treatment for minorities in the criminal justice system. Indiana Moral Mondays wants it all.

The goal is to bring together allies in the fight for progressive policies, said Nancy Holle, a leader in the coalition. Among the groups involved are the NAACP, Holle’s Family Faith and Labor Coalition and Raise the Wage Indiana.

“It’s the biggest tent you can imagine,” said Holle. “We’re bringing everybody together who have always been kicked to the curb by extremists in our state legislature, and we’re going to stand together.”

The broad range of issues is what makes Indiana Moral Mondays strong, Holle said. It makes them harder to ignore.

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