Thousands March

Dozens of Valley residents were among thousands of people at a Boston march for a $15 an hour minimum wage April 14. The next day, “tens of thousands of low-wage workers, students and activists in more than 200 American cities” marched and attended rallies for the same cause, according to the New York Times.

Betsy Ventura lives in Holyoke and works as a “personal care attendant.” She took a bus to the Boston march. “It was phenomenal,” Ventura told the Valley Post. “It made me believe that if we stand together, we'll win. Don't give up.”

She said it was the first time she had ever attended a march for a political cause. Ventura works for Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts, a state funded agency that provides care to children and adults with disabilities. She makes $13.38 an hour.

Johannes Raatz is a student at UMass Amherst. He also traveled to the march by bus. “The march was fun,” he told the Valley Post. “There was live gospel music at the rally before the march.” Raatz said he volunteered for the grassroots campaign that last year won an increase in the Massachusetts minimum wage, which is now $9 an hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25. “This is a growing movement,” he said.

The organizers of the Boston march have a web site: www.WageAction.org.

The first photo of the Boston march, below, was taken by Lily Huang. She is an organizer with www.massjwj.net. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image."

The second photo was found online by one of the march organizers, who provided the link to the Valley Post.

Michelle Jourdan lives in Springfield. She traveled to Boston for the march. She works for a company called Stavros and makes less than $15 an hour. “It's not enough,” she told the Valley Post. “I love my job, even though it's hard. At the march we shouted out what we're fighting for. People on the street were supportive. Some of them joined the march; we got a lot of thumbs up.”

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