By Puretera Witcher
As a co-creator of the inaugural Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Clock Out & Rally event, held July 28, 2015 in the Georgia State Capitol, I wanted people to know that it’s time for change. I want to switch the nation’s focus. Economic injustices are the reason we are have such great poverty in such a wealthy country. This racist, women-hating hierarchy of the worthy created for and by older white men must be acknowledged and uprooted.
In every American community somehow and in some way, women are still treated as second class citizens – and Black women are treated far worse than most. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of Black women who are full-time minimum-wage workers is higher than that of any other racial group. To make matters worse, there’s an even bigger pay gap in the service industry, where black women are paid on average just 60 percent of what male servers are paid. That’s why a livable minimum wage is crucial to all women (who make up two-thirds of tipped workers), and especially black women.
We asked women to virtually (with a FB post) and literally “Clock Out & Rally” because we become parties to our own oppression when we hold any job higher than our personal worth. We, Black women, are worth far more than we get. Without us many Fortune 500 companies would fail. Drastic measures, such as literally clocking out, are needed. Without creating true tension around the topic the world will assume we don’t care – that we are fine. Black women are not fine. Black children are not fine. Black men are not fine. Black communities are not fine. We are not okay.
Therefore, I ask all citizens, legislators and business owners who support equal pay for all, to help us by completing at least one of the following tasks:
– Educate yourself and others on the HOWS, WHENS, WHERES, WHYS, and WHATS of pay inequality. To start you can visit: www.aauw.org or nwlc.org.
– Link Up with an organization that organizes around Black Women’s Equal Pay, such as 9to5.