Life at minimum wage is something that I don't think folks really understand — especially in big cities.

It's hell.

If you have children to support, it's even worse.


So when Chrisanna Capshaw stepped up to the mic at a North Carolina hearing where people wanted to talk about why raising the minimum wage is no longer an option for working people, folks listened.

And they still are.

Millions of Facebook views later, a video of Capshaw's speech continues to make the rounds.

But before we get to the video, I'd like to tackle five big misconceptions folks have about minimum wage.

1. "Minimum-wage jobs are meant for high school students!"

✔ About one-third of minimum wage workers are over 30 years old, and 89% are 20 or older. Womp, womp.

Because everybody who works for starvation wages is this happy, right? Image by David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons.

2. "Those are just part-time jobs, anyway."

✔ Actually, 35% work full time. (And besides ... what's wrong with making decent money, even as a part-timer?)

How quaintly ancient. Image by Kevin Rutherford/Wikimedia Commons.

3. "They're jobs for people who just need extra spending money."

✔ Low-wage earners make over half of their family's income, and 28% of them have children. ("Low-wage workers" are defined here as making less than $10.10/hour, which is one proposed minimum-wage increase. There are about 30 million of them in the U.S.)

"I sold my plasma the last three weeks to pay bills and ... ZZZzzzzz." Image by Mruk20/Wikimedia Commons.

4. "If they want good jobs, they need to go to school!"

✔ About 37% have at least some college under their belts. Ahem.

"Yay! My diploma says I can make $7.25 an hour and I owe $150,000! Wait ... what?!" Image by Shenandoah University Office of Marketing and Communications, Wikimedia Commons.

5. "Why can't they just figure it out and make ends meet?"

✔ In every state, working for the minimum wage leaves a full-time worker with two kids below the poverty level.


Now if these were actually made of full copper... Image by Roman Oleinik/Wikimedia Commons.

So that brings us to Chrisanna Capshaw.

She will be one of the people who will join the Fight for $15 on Tuesday, Nov. 10, all across the country.

Chrisanna's story is not unique. It is important to hear and ponder deeply. Because a little empathy might just offer a different perspective on life.

While her tale is indeed a bit harrowing, she speaks highly of joining the Fight for $15 movement. Fast food workers recently won $15 in New York City by the end of 2018, and in the entire state by 2021.

I live in Washington, the state with the first official outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. While my family lives several hours from Seattle, it was alarming to be near the epicenter—especially early in the pandemic when we knew even less about the coronavirus than we know now.

As tracking websites went up and statistics started pouring in, things looked hairy for Washington. But not for long. We could have and should have shut everything down faster than we did, but Governor Inslee took the necessary steps to keep the virus from flying completely out of control. He's consistently gotten heat from all sides, but in general he listened to the infectious disease experts and followed the lead of public health officials—which is exactly what government needs to do in a pandemic.

As a result, we've spent the past several months watching Washington state drop from the #1 hotspot down to 23rd in the nation (as of today) for total coronavirus cases. In cases per million population, we're faring even better at number 38. We have a few counties where outbreaks are pretty bad, and cases have slowly started to rise as the state has reopened—which was to be expected—but I've felt quite satisfied with how it's been handled at the state level. The combination of strong state leadership and county-by-county reopenings has born statistically impressive results—especially considering the fact that we didn't have the lead time that other states did to prepare for the outbreak.

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