On Wednesday we celebrated the anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s march on Washington, a wonderful recognition of the gains we have made and what we have left to do as a country. Let’s not forget that King and the civil rights movement were just as strongly committed to economic fairness for all Americans. They saw the issue as deeply tied to civil rights.
In King’s own words, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'”
In that spirit, let’s give our support to the fast food workers seeking a decent wage. It doesn’t matter if you build houses, teach students or flip burgers: All work has a purpose, and deserves dignity and respect. And you’re simply not respected if you’re trapped in poverty despite working hard at multiple jobs.
(Ibsen is a member of the Tacoma City Council.)