Marching for Minimum Raise

April 15, 2015
by Lisa Calcasola

By the time the Fight for 15 protests stopped in Times Square in Manhattan on , it was dark. People who had been preparing for the event weeks ahead of time dropped their signs on the side of the road to be recycled and went their separate ways.

Even with most of the protestors gone, the space still felt electric with its energy.  I talked with Chantelle and Monica; Monica had a camera around her neck. I asked if she was interested in film, and she told me she was in film school now, studying to be a director. Film is one of the most accessible forms of media there is, and can reach a multifaceted audience, she said.

“I’m really interested in documentaries,” Monica said. “Film can shed light on lots of social issues and get the word out, teach people about what’s going on.”

When asked what she thought today’s biggest message was about, Chantelle feistily replied, “It’s all about not letting corporations steal from the people.”

“Corporations make billions of dollars and what’re they doing with it? They’re keeping it for themselves and stealing from the people. Today is all about making sure we don’t let them win. We won’t go down without a fight.”

Chantelle paused for a minute, then added, “The most important thing about these things is bringing people together. At these protests we sometimes have 30,000 people. That’s 30,000 people who have called each other up and said, ‘hey, we’re going through the same thing right now. We’re being cheated by the same company.’ That’s when you know something’s not right. You get 30,000 people to ban together to fight for a cause, you know they can’t all be wrong.”

“It’s also not just about the workers, you know. It’s also about students. Students got so many loans today, and they can’t pay those back. They’ve got minimum wage jobs too.”

When asked personally what they’d do with the extra money, Chantelle and Monica replied, “What would I do? What wouldn’t I do? I’d do what I wanted with the money I deserve.”

“We can’t let them get away with what they’ve been doing. It’s not right. We’re gonna keep fighting until we solve this.”

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