Day 121: Celebrate May Day!

You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads that the rest of us paid for. You hired workers that the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. (Elizabeth Warren)

By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class. (Anne Morrow Lindbergh)

The more that social democracy develops, grows, and becomes stronger, the more the enlightened masses of workers will take their own destinies, the leadership of their movement, and the determination of its direction into their own hands. (Rosa Luxemburg)

‘The Accursed’ is very much a novel about social injustice as the consequence of the terrible, tragic division of classes – the exploitation not only of poor and immigrant workers but of their young children in factories and mills – and as the consequence of race hatred in the aftermath of the Civil War and the freeing of the slaves. (Joyce Carol Oates)

We believe in loving our brothers regardless of race, color or creed and we believe in showing this love by working for better conditions immediately and the ultimate owning by the workers of their means of production. (Dorothy Day)

The most powerful recent innovation in government is when states aggressively use community colleges for retraining. In Michigan, where large numbers of workers were displaced from the manufacturing industry, we created a wildly successful program: No Worker Left Behind.  (Jennifer Granholm)

Most arguments for instituting or raising a minimum wage are based on fairness and redistribution. Even if workers are getting a competitive wage, many of us are deeply disturbed that some hard-working families still have very little. (Christina Romer)
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Day 20: Vote.

If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.
— Coretta Scott King

As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I share this quote from Mrs. King for one reason. Vote.

Even while 2012 saw unprecedented numbers of women elected to both the House and the Senate, we continue to see cuts to programs that benefit women and children. SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as Food Stamps) continue to face funding at levels that threaten the health and welfare of poor children and their families.

Rather than talk about hunger, we talk about households that are “food insecure,” meaning that these families do not necessarily know where their next meal is coming from — or if it will come at all. It somehow sounds less worse than saying that American children are hungry. As we remember that the “war on poverty” began 50 years ago, we should also remember that we are losing. The poor are more impoverished, and there are more poor people in the US than at any point in our countries history.

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Women need to vote. Every time in every election. And they need to let their elected officials know what they care about — whether it’s economic justice, education, discrimination or healthcare. They need to remind those who have been elected to represent them that they care about what happens to all families, women and children.

As Mao Zedong is credited as saying, “Women hold up half the sky.” The voice of women in our political democracy is critical to the health of that democracy. So vote. Women have had the right to vote in this country for less than 100 years, and women died that we might enjoy that right.

On this MLK day, do something that matters. Make a phone call. Talk to a friend. Help a neighbor. Read to a child. And never, ever, ever pass up the opportunity to make your voice heard.