15 Later, 12 Now

People write history. Democracy preserves the interest of, meets the needs of, and answers the voice of the people. Democracy served us on November 3rd, 2015 when the people in the City of Tacoma decided to raise the city’s min­imum wage to $12 dollars an hour, making history as Tacoma became the third city in Washington State to move toward a higher minimum wage.

The new minimum wage is a great victory. Everyone in the city who just wants to move their own life forward and everyone who wakes up in the morning trying to help their kids grow with happiness and warmth shall have their daily work rewarded and regarded.

Ideally, this would be addressed at the fed­eral level, guaranteeing all Americans the right to a living wage regardless of which city they call home. For years, the Obama Administration has indeed been calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage for everyone in this coun­try. Yet, due to the partisan obstacles caused by the heartless and mindless politicians who don’t listen to the people, the federal minimum wage has yet to be raised.

The people of Tacoma refused to wait. They challenged and pushed government to do what is best for them. They had the courage and the eagerness to call for change, motivate change, and achieve it.

A higher minimum wage supports the peo­ple around the city who do good work every day in order to fulfill their own dreams. What we earn as a result of the work we do should be a source of equality, not a source of inequality. The checks we receive once in awhile should be one new piece of hope for families that just want to have a better day ahead, not one new piece of stress that causes families to think if there is food they can afford on the next day and if there is any bill they might have to fail to pay on the next day.

The minimum wage is far from perfect. But reality is what we need to face when we make a choice and take action. Raising the minimum wage too fast might cause business owners to hire less people, to cut hours of their current employees, and increase the prices of the goods and services they provide. Progress comes with a price, but we should not lose too much because there are things we need to save in order to make the progress that will be more proper in the future.

15 Now Tacoma is one of the most inspiring community organizations we have ever had in Tacoma. The group fought for the interest of us workers, the group taught us workers what we should do to get the change we deserve, and the group led a historic movement where how much we earn became a government priority and a law that none of us should break.

15 Now Tacoma didn’t reach its goal to raise the minimum wage to $15. But the group start­ed a citywide conversation on how employees should be treated and how businesses should be operated with a sense of care and compas­sion. When we get into a house, we have to go through the door first. 15 Now Tacoma raised the awareness we have on the importance of the standard of our minimum wage and the power of we the people—the power to voice our ideas, the power to urge those who are in power to help us fix and improve life, and most importantly, the power to be owners of the progress that we need to have! With 15 Now Tacoma, raising the minimum wage will con­tinue to be a central part of our government’s agenda.

The minimum wage has now been raised and it will raise again because we have learned that when we lack the change we want in life; silence shall not be an option!

Keep up with the 15 Now movement at
15now.org