Last week, I attended a meeting with members of the Student Organizing Committee of Kansas City (SOC-KC). I was able to meet a few people who were enthusiastic about the fight for a $15 minimum wage. We talked about why we believe a living wage is necessary.
My personal belief is that the current minimum wage is a product of an unjust system. If somebody is working full time and cannot support themselves, it’s not a sign of laziness or stupidity; it’s a sign of a system that has failed.
Heartening as it was to meet other people eager to fight for economic justice, I had to wonder: where is everybody else? There we were in the Student Union, during peak lunch hours with quite a few boxes of free pizza stacked on top of each other. If free pizza couldn’t motivate people, what could?
As a board member of a student organization, Pride Alliance, I often get frustrated with what seems like the lack of a cohesive community at UMKC, and I know I am not alone. We may have our groups and clusters, but compared to the student population, they are very small.
We have all heard the reasons why: UMKC is a commuter campus, people have jobs and families outside of school and just do not have the time to get involved with things on campus.
I don’t believe that this is necessarily true.
When you find something that you really want to commit to, you make the time for it, no matter how little that time is. In any kind of movement, it’s important for everyone to get involved in any way shape or form.
At the same time, I understand that we live in a society where time is money and vice-versa. In this economy, who can afford to waste time, especially on something which may not immediately materialize?
This is a question I often ask myself. The reason I got involved with SOC-KC is because I believe in its mission. I believe that a living wage is something worth fighting for, something that’s necessary. And I believe that with a living wage, more students at UMKC will have the time to commit themselves to what they believe in.
Even If I cannot convince you that a living wage is something worth fighting for, at least walk away with this: find something you’re passionate about, and commit yourself to it. Even if you cannot give all of your time, support it in any, way, shape or form you can. I think that might be the key to getting the most from your education.