Amanda Monroe testified at a hearing about raising the minimum wage to show why $15 per hour would make all the difference in the lives of her and her son.
"I believe that every person that is willing to work and work hard deserves dignity and respect and the ability to support their own families."
Meet Amanda Monroe, a mom who recently testified at a New York Wage Board hearing. She really lays it out clearly for people to empathize and understand what it must be like. But the last 15 seconds? She reaches my heart, man.
Although Amanda had a career, The Great Recession took its toll.
Amanda started working in billing at a medical center in 1999. She worked her way up in a specialist's office at a rheumatology center and then enrolled in college at Bryant & Stratton four years ago for her medical assistant's degree.
She had her son (the one sleeping in the video above) in 2010 and lost her job about the same time. The economy, still on a slow rebound from The Great Recession, meant plenty of people were looking to fill jobs like the one she lost.
She couldn't find work for the first two years of her son's life.
In fact, the industry had changed: Without a degree, she couldn't even get in the door. Finally, she ran out of unemployment. Upon discovering that she qualified for state-assisted child care, she realized she was in a bad place.
"You have to be so poor to qualify for child care assistance," she quipped. "You have to basically have zero."
As Amanda explains in the video, the current minimum wage doesn't cover the most basic needs.
Amanda finally took a job at Dunkin' Donuts and, eventually, McDonald's. She really wanted to make sure her son to had the best childhood education possible, but it meant that there were extra fees that went to child care costs.
She started paying $15 per week to the child care provider. That cost has gone up; now, she owes $37 every week, which she can't afford. It wasn't long before she owed the child care provider over $100 — three week's fees unpaid.
"I borrow money," she said.
Amanda is forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized child care, but it's still not enough. She needs $15 an hour so she can take care of her son and make sure he has access to the future he deserves.