by Anna Anderson, aberdeen
Anna Anderson supports her son and disabled husband with her income from the Aberdeen Jack-in-the-Box. Here’s why she is supporting the nationwide strike for $15 & the right to organize:
There seems to be a lot of debate these days about the hourly wages in Grays Harbor not being enough to live off of, and with the minimum wages of so many surrounding cities being raised we find ourselves asking “Why not us too?” As a worker at a local fast food restaurant I find myself asking the same question and have yet to hear a reasonable answer.
I live in Aberdeen, WA and I am 21 years old and recently gave up on my college education to work so I could support my son and disabled husband. With a 4.0 GPA I thought nothing could stop me from achieving my goals and living my dreams, but as money got tight I found myself having to choose between books for my classes and paying rent. But dropping out of school hasn’t stopped me from having to make choices like that in the least bit.
With Christmas around the corner, my financial worries only seem to get worse. Living in a small, one bedroom apartment with my son, husband, and dog, sleeping space is confined. My son holds the only bedroom so my husband and I sleep on couches in our living room.
This winter I’ve chosen to do without a room and a bed for another year so that my son can have Christmas. I may have to wait longer though because our family is in serious need of a car to get to important doctor's appointments and do other everyday things like grocery shopping. Even though I save every extra dollar I have it is going to take me up to two years to save up enough to buy at least a decent car. That is, however, assuming that in that time no financial crisis comes up unexpectedly, which more than likely will.
I often think about getting back into school, but quickly dismiss the idea because I need to find a second job instead to make our living conditions more suitable. I am a hard worker and have always done my best to give my family the life that they deserve. I am, however, constantly feeling like my best isn’t good enough and my hard work will never pay off. I know many people are going through the same struggles too, and it just doesn’t seem right.
Why are we having so many difficulties when we are the ones burning our hands and breaking our backs to bring in the money that has other people sitting quite comfortably in life, living in homes and driving cars that someone like me doesn’t even dare dream about.
I used to tell myself that someday I would move up in the industry and not have these kind of financial problems anymore. However, if that were to happen, it would just be someone else in my place, which would give me little comfort in my success.
We can do something about this though, even as the “little people” we have the power to make a big difference. Even if the change will not happen right away, we have to start somewhere. That somewhere is here and now. It is time for us to start putting more of our efforts into our own pockets and stop working so hard just to struggle so much. Nothing will change on its own, but it has for the people who fought for it and will for those who continue to.
So I ask again, “Why not us too?”