(Photo: What a difference–in downgraded hope–two years can make.)
During Election 2006, I had the good fortune to participate in 7 Days @ Minimum Wage, a video diary of working Americans struggling to keep their families afloat on minimum-wage pay. I interviewed Jessica, a single mom in Chicago. Her searing answers and barely contained sorrow made her, much to my surprise, the centerpiece of the entire project.
I’ve thought about her lately. I wonder whether if we had spoken during Election 2008, the current economy would have removed even what little hope she expressed back then for her children’s future. Take a look at her interview, below (the second part will break your heart), and decide for yourself whether it’s worth it for the government to make sure we don’t enter a second Depression.
The 7 Days project was co-sponsored by the national offices of the AFL-CIO and (the lately unfairly-maligned) ACORN, from an idea germinated by my D.C.-based fellow social-justice media maven, Sarah Massey. It’s the interview of Jessica’s life and mine–this guerilla project helped win minimum-wage increases in six states and my work on it unexpectedly catapulted me into a career as a communications strategist.
But watch it for Jessica. Her everywoman story is every bit as legitimate today as it was in 2006. Sadly.