Black Lives Matter, the Black Friday 14, and The Fight for 15 Campaign Join in Historic Partnership to Demand Dignity for Workers and for All Black Lives --- with 500 Protests in more than 270 cities today.
Oakland – On November 10th 2015, Black Lives Matter Bay Area joined Oakland fast food, home care, and childcare workers, and Black activists across the state and nation, to mobilize the largest ever strike to hit America’s fast-food industry. The strike comes one year from Election Day – with walkouts planned for a record 270 cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Sacramento and San Francisco.
The strike calls for California to secure a better future for the state’s families with a November 2016 ballot initiative that would raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 and guarantee six paid sick days to all California workers. Protests also demand the charges be dropped against the Black Friday 14.
Black Lives Matter Bay Area joined this day of action because when more than half of all Black workers make less than $15.00 an hour we have to take a stand to say Black Lives Matter at work, too.
What both civil rights and labor activists have known for decades is that we often have to take brave acts of civil disobedience to make change. We are fighting for our human dignity--- the ability to watch our children grow up, to live in communities free of fear, and to have the resources that they need to survive.
That is why, Last November, in response to the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson and a constant war on Black lives, 14 Black activists locked themselves together and blocked the BART train for several hours on Black Friday.
Instead of citing and releasing protesters, or charging them with the same minor infractions applied to the thousands of multiracial allies that have blocked busses, trains, and traffic -- the Alameda County Deputy District Attorney applied a far harsher penalty—criminal charges and $70,000 in restitution.
The Black Friday 14 took a brave stand to briefly disrupt the normal economic flow in a region that has experienced skyrocketing housing costs, a widening wealth gap and the continued disappearance of our Black communities. Yet, the District Attorney has wasted her office's resources to continue the discriminatory prosecution of our brothers and sisters fighting in the tradition of our civil rights and labor movements.
We're here today, united as movements, to remind her and the corporations she that our dignity is worth fighting for--- and she should stand on the side of justice.
As an over-policed and underpaid community the Fight for 15 is personal for Black people. When we say Black Lives Matter, we are continuing a generations long struggle for the dignity of Black people everywhere, from the courtroom to the workplace.
We are proud to partner with workers who are leading the Fight for $15 in California, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California and other labor leaders to demand justice now for the Black Friday 14 and a fair wage for all.
The movement for Black lives is about more than criminalization and incarceration. Because the lives of Black people are not one dimensional, the fight for justice must also be multi-layered in its approach. As Black people, we are fighting for our basic humanity; the ability to watch our children grow up, to live in communities free of fear, and to have the resources that we need to survive.
Over the last year, hundreds of thousands of Black people across the country have stood powerfully in defense of Black lives. We continue this fight as a part of a broad movement to secure a brighter future and expanded opportunity for Black workers here in the Bay and across the country.
Later in the evening the Berkeley City Council will be debating a proposal to raise the minimum wage to the highest level in the country, $19/hr by 2020, commensurate with a living wage.