Friday, October 20, 2006


Some of you already know I'm a Chicago blogger who's been helping to film the stories of a group of Americans living lives of hardship and poverty working at the federal minimum wage. Their stories go live on the Web this Monday, October 23, at, and if you aren't moved by them I'd be surprised. It's one thing to hear statistics about poverty. It's another to have poverty look you in the eye. Jessica, Erin, Susan, Jeffrey, Chris, Amanda, Mallory, and Paul will look you in the eye next week.

Some say the passion is gone from the labor movement. Those voices are mistaken. I dare you to hold the gaze of these people, hear their stories in their own words, and not be brought to tears.

ACORN and AFL-CIO originally launched the "7 Days" video blog in support of minimum wage ballot initiatives in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Missouri, Nevada and Ohio. But we learned quickly that the lives of Americans living at legally permissible poverty wages have a hard-hitting, universal meaning for anyone, anywhere who believes in fairness and justice.

Roseanne Barr, a great supporter of community organizing, will host a new video each day from her Hollywood production facility, Full High Tide Studios. (Why Roseanne Barr? She's an ACORN member who mobilized voters in Ohio in 2004 and worked with members in New Orleans to rebuild neighborhoods--she’s also a proud member of two labor unions, the Screen Actors Guild/SAG and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists/AFTRA).

"7 Days" viewers will be encouraged to respond to the stories they see by posting their reactions and comments, and uploading home videos of themselves and others telling their own, personal stories of trying to make ends meet on poverty pay. Viewers will also be able to contact their member of Congress to demand an increase in the federal minimum wage.

I urge you to visit "7 Days @ Minimum Wage" at (also via YouTube) every day next week to see if you have what it takes, deep inside, to look the face of modern poverty in the eye and not blink. The brave among you will meet the following individuals, who are the bravest of all:

Monday 10/23: Susan Windham and Paul Greg Valdez (construction laborers in Denver)
Tuesday 10/24: Erin (a supermarket worker in Northern Indiana)
Wednesday 10/25: Jeffrey Edwards (a fast-food worker in Denver)
Thursday 10/26: Jessica (a clerical worker in Chicago)
Friday 10/27: Chris Peters (a day-laborer in Denver)
Saturday 10/28: Amanda Stewart (a fast-food worker in Cleveland)
Sunday 10/29: Mallory McCarty (a retail clerk in Cleveland)

Come meet these everyday heroes starting Monday, at


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