As I stood there, silent, but in awe in the hot autumn night with street lights painting my vision the color of sepia. Streets splattered with red and blue lay behind me, but in front of me was a tsunami wave of emotion, passion, and dedication. The air was filled with shouts of a fight for a better life. Feet, bodies, and banners sprawled with the words of a brighter future were marching towards me like a tank ready to crush any opposition trying to stop their dreams.
This was the scene of my first ever protest of monumental scale. It was a part of a national protest known as Fight For 15. This was also my third action (protests, press events, and things like that) in two weeks. You see, my new job, South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice, has me going out to to different actions across Miami, and taking photos for them.
These protests have been amazing for not just being able to see the passion, and to be a part of a movement where 100s, maybe 1000s of people come together for the same thing. It’s also amazing in that it makes me actually have to question where I stand on certain things, and makes me wonder about this and that, and about what I truly believe.
I will admit though that this Fight for 15 has taught me one very important thing. It all started when this really young fast food worker came on stage. She was probably about 16, and she was shouting how she needs 15 dollars an hour.
I’m standing here listening, and trying to make up my mind. I would be a liar though if I didn’t say that my mind teetered on the thought of why does she need that amount of money. She’s just a kid, and her parents should be able to help her out.
That’s when it hit me. Maybe she doesn’t have the funds to be able to cover her life expenses that my parents were able to. My privilege of having parents, and then with their ability to pay for the things I need has blindfolded me to a very real problem of people not being able to afford the things they need to survive in life.
What if she isn’t just trying to afford a life for herself, but also for her parents? Maybe they need her as much as she needs them? Maybe she has a kid, and doesn’t have the skills yet to move on to a different job? So many questions went through my head about how she can keep herself a float, but also questions of how can these other passionate individuals who are older then her handle life when they might be going through the same problems.
Why should people have to suffer whenever I’ve had the comfort and privilege of parents with a steady income?
Those things don’t make sense to me, and that’s what I guess this year is about. Being forced into the shadows of injustices, and being made to ask yourself how I feel about the evils of the world.
If you’d like to help me be able to keep asking these kinds of questions, and learning from them then I invite you to donate here. Also, if you’d like to support SFIWJ in what they’re doing then you are in luck because they are apart of Give Miami day tomorrow, and will be accepting donations here.