“Police violence is usually, predominantly in communities that suffer economic violence,” protester says.
Two of America’s largest social movements — the Fight for 15 and Black Lives Matter — took to the streets of Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday to demand economic and racial justice.
Hundreds of people, including low-wage workers and Black Lives Matter protesters rallied outside the courthouse where former NYPD officer Peter Liang was scheduled to be sentenced for killing of Akai Gurley.
According to the protesters, who had converged from different cities and states, the fight for a $15 minimum wage is linked with the objectives of Black Lives Matter movement because police brutality is endemic in communities that suffer from economic violence.
“When you think about the Fight for 15 and you think about Black Lives Matter, it intersects,” said Dawn O’Neal, who traveled to New York from Atlanta to support both movements. “Police violence is usually, predominantly in communities that suffer economic violence. So it goes hand in hand.”
O’Neal, who makes $8.50 an hour as a child care worker, asserted that appalling economic condition is the root cause of higher crime rates and police violence in communities.
According to the protesters, better wages will lift communities of color above the poverty line.
“I believe that once we have better wages and our wages are increased, parents won’t have to work two and three jobs to make ends meet. They’ll have more time with their children. Our communities will be a better place,” O’Neal said.
This is not the first time Fight for 15 and Black Lives Matter are collaborating – the two activist groups have teamed up in multiple events across the country.
Black Live Matter’s decision to stand side-by-side with Fight for 15 is summarized in the statement released in November, 2015, by activists from Oakland, California, in support of joint protests held by the movements in hundreds of cities:
“Black Lives Matter Bay Area joined this day of action because when more than half of all Black workers make less than $15 an hour we have to take a stand to say Black Lives Matter at work, too,” the statement said.
Activists from Black Lives Matter and workers fighting for a raise are in the same battle to ensure that Americans, who have been undervalued, have a dignified life – one, which cannot be taken away by cops.
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