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Why you should care that 2 states are raising the minimum wage to $15.

Wages are on the upswing, and we've got fast food workers to thank.

In November 2012, a group of New York City fast food workers walked off the job. They wanted higher wages, the right to form a union, and better working conditions. Many laughed.

They wanted $15 an hour. This was more than twice the city's then-minimum wage of $7.25, and such a demand seemed ridiculous at the time.

Fast forward to today, and the movement they helped start just scored a couple major victories.


A striking worker protests outside a Wendy's on Nov. 29, 2012. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Over the course of the next three years, New York City's minimum wage will jump to $15 an hour, and it's thanks in large part to the Fight for 15 movement.

The movement, which really took off following the New York protests, has been relentless in its work. A coalition of low-paid workers, unions, and supporters has forced the issue with protests across the country, turning what seemed like the impossible into reality.

Last year, Seattle became the first major city to announce a $15 minimum wage, followed by Los Angeles and San Francisco. Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown announced plans to expand that wage to the whole state, followed just hours later by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement.

Low wage workers and supporters protest for a $15 an hour minimum wage on November 10, 2015. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Why is $15 an hour such a big deal? Because in most cases, it's above what's called the "living wage."

A living wage is what an individual has to make in order to cover basic expenses like food, housing, transportation, and medical care. In Manhattan, for example, the living wage is $14.30 an hour.

By raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, workers will finally be able to afford to live in the same area they work. This is a huge deal.

Obviously, the living wage varies across the country, but the point is this: Nobody is getting rich off $15 an hour. These are the wages people need to be paid to survive in our world.


People protest in front of a McDonald's on Sept. 10, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

In response to the movement to increase the minimum wage, MIT developed a "living wage calculator." It's pretty cool.

You can visit their website, type in what county and state you live in, and find out in just moments what they've calculated to be the living wage in your area. The number might surprise you!


Protesters stand outside a McDonald's in Miami, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

If we believe in the American dream, upward mobility, or whatever you'd like to call it — we need to believe in a living wage for all.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that people who begin work at the low end of the income scale have a hard time moving up in the world. When people working full-time can't afford basic necessities like food and shelter, there's no amount of hard work that can help. Working will always keep them broke because they don't have money to save up.

If we want to believe the world is a fair and just place and if we want to believe that all it takes is a bit of hard work to move up in the world, then we need to believe in a living wage.

And, finally, for these cities and states taking action, we're getting there.

Protesters stand outside a McDonald's in Miami, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

And just to think that less than three years ago all of this seemed impossible. Looks like we've got some fast food employees to thank.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.