African American Clergy Prayer Vigil Calling on Legislators to Support an Equitable
Minimum Wage and Honor Historically Underpaid Workers during Black History Month
— PRAYER VIGIL TIMELINE: Wed., Feb. 98, 10:45 a.m. Bank St. sidewalk (b/n 9th & 10th Streets)
— RICHMOND – On Wednesday, February 19, leading African American clergy from around Virginia will gather at a prayer vigil near the Capitol to share their concerns about the recent minimum wage bill passed by Virginia’s Senators. Under their proposed language, the bill would establish a regional minimum wage, exempt college students, and create a blanket “training wage” allowing employers to pay a subminimum wage to new hires during their first 90 days of work.
The pastors are calling on legislators to support a stronger minimum wage bill passed by the House of Delegates HB 395, and express their concerns about Senate bill SB7, that could lock poor African Americans into poverty by its racist and prejudiced regional approach.
The clergy and church leaders point out that raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 or 2025 would raise wages for 43 percent of African American workers in Virginia and one out of every two African American women would see her wages rise. “It’s time to stop talking about the need to address income inequality and start acting,” says Rev. Dr. Faith Harris, Vice President of the board of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. “If legislators want to celebrate Black history month, they should go back to the drawing board and pass a bill that does not leave black workers behind.”
SPEAKERS: start at 10:45 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Leo Whitaker – Executive Minister, Baptist General Convention of VA-welcome
Rev. Dr. Faith Harris – Vice President of the board of VA Interfaith Center for Public Policy Bishop Dwight Green – Jurisdictional Prelate: Grace 5th Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of VA
Charles Carter – worker #1 (home health care)
Rev. Dr. Elisha Burke – Board member, VA Interfaith Center & Director of Health, Wellness, and. Social Justice, Baptist General Convention of Virginia
Rev. Dr. Anthony Fludd – Board member, VA Interfaith Center and Assistant Pastor of St. Johns Church of God in Christ in Newport News
Worker #2 – TBA
Rev. Rodney Hunter – Pastor, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
Closing prayer – Rev. Whitaker
The Clergy are calling on legislators to support a stronger minimum wage bill passed by the House of Delegates (HB 395), and express their concerns about Senate bill (SB7), that could lock poor African Americans into poverty by its racist and prejudiced regional approach.
• African American religious leaders call upon the General Assembly to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. All workers deserve and need $15 per hour.
• We oppose proposals that exclude people, such as:
o Domestic workers (clearly rooted in slavery)
o Farmworkers (clearly rooted in slavery)
o Students 22 and below
• We oppose regionalism that widens income disparity, like that proposed in SB7
• Raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 or 2025 would raise wages for 43 percent of African American workers in Virginia and one out of every two African American women would see her wages rise.
MEDIA CONTACT: Roberta Oster Communications Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy 804-615-4192; email@example.com