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Every (Working) Woman

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 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.

Jessica’s Story

I had never picked up a video camera in my life before I interviewed Jessica, a low-paid mother of four, for the 7 Days @ Minimum Wage project. Her searing story and her quiet eloquence, both of which emerged absolutely spontaneously, blew me and the ACORN/AFL-CIO project team in D.C. away–so much so that her interview is being shown in its 13-minute entirety, with one small edit to protect her privacy. View that story here.


As I begin work on the 7 Days @ Minimum Wage video project, I keenly remember when I first moved to the Windy City in 2003. I moved midwest on the shaky strength of a job offer that shook apart just as I was arriving. Now here I was, with an urban planning masters degree, without an apartment, and with the sinking feeling I was about to return, albeit temporarily, to the crap jobs of my college days. I wish it had been that easy.

“7 Days @ Minimum Wage” Begins Monday

It’s about to happen. On Monday, October 23, the national video blog I was invited to work on for ACORN and AFL-CIO goes live on the Net. Here is a list of the people who’ll be telling their own stories–including Jessica, the amazing mother of four whom I had the honor to interview–and whose story is the centerpiece of the week-long event.

Silent Sorrow: Filming “7 Days @ Minimum Wage”

Last week I wrote that I was helping to produce a national video blog kicking off on October 23, 7 Days @ Minimum Wage, highlighting the hardships people go through when they’re stuckat the bottom of the wage ladder. I thought I would just be doing Internet outreach coordination. Instead I was tapped to find and interview participants–one of whom will become the project’s centerpiece.

Can You Live “7 DAYS @ MINIMUM WAGE”?

This summer, when I jumped head-first into Chicago’s big-box wage debate, I repeatedly said that the best way to promote a wage increase was at the state level. Little did I suspect that, three months later, I would be selected for the national publicity team of a week-long, ACORN/AFL-CIO sponsored Internet campaign to raise the minimum wage in six states. Well, I have been.