Some 100 Walmart employees have joined a movement to fast for the 15 days leading up to Thanksgiving. They saythis is a protest for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And they may also be joined by up to 1000 more low-wage earners around the country who are taking this measure in the hope that people will finally take notice of the growing problem of people who work full-time jobs yet still earn wages which are far below the poverty level.
Some of the protesters will fast for the entire 15 days. Others will join for shorter periods. Many will rely on liquid-only diets for sustenance.
Andrea Dehlendorf, co-executive director of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart, commented:
“The number of people willing to go hungry to call out Wal-Mart injustice is simply unheard of. Workers can’t even afford to buy groceries there.”
Another former Walmart employee who will be joining the fast, Denise Barlage, said she often heard co-workers say they could not afford to buy enough food or even gas to get to work daily. Some employees said they would share their own sandwich with colleagues who could not buy food. Barlage noted:
“These are decisions no one should have to make.”
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said so very eloquently in 1965:
“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”
This is even truer today when thousands of Walmart workers are further enriching one of the biggest corporations in the world while they personally fall further behind. This is not just an economic issue, it is a moral one.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.