Reflection on Low Wage Workers: Rev. Susan McCann

It was freezing on the sidewalk outside a McDonald’s last Thursday, but surrounded by a couple hundred people all braving the bitter cold, it didn’t bother us. We were there to deliver a message. I breathed in, and instead of tasting empty, cold air, I felt the excitement of anticipation, of pain, of hope.

The crowd of workers, community members, and faith leaders quieted, and we began to pray.

Together we prayed for everyone caught in a dehumanizing system: for workers who are stripped of their dignity, for managers who are too stressed to express compassion, and for CEOs who reap exorbitant profits from paying poverty wages, and for customers who are blind to these dire conditions.

It was a powerful moment as we all stood together as one and saw each other as brothers and sisters tied to a common community fate.

It’s time to change the way we do business in Kansas City – on both sides of the register.

Businesses must pay their workers fairly and treat them well.

And community members must learn to see God in the faces of the people on the line.

Last Thursday we issued a moral challenge to the business leaders, customers, shareholders, and workers- in the words of CT Vivian, “How can we call ourselves people of God unless we treat our workers like they’re children of God?”

For us at CCO, this is not just about protests or raising the minimum wage. It’s not just about expanding Medicaid or protecting people from predatory lenders.

This is about restoring dignity to the center of public life. Everything we do is based on that.

A year ago so much of the pain of struggling working families in our community was invisible. Today, after hundreds of people took action in Kansas City this year, the conversation is changing.

On Jan 30th, CCO is going to chart our path for 2014. And we’re going to do more than change a conversation. It is going to be a powerful night.

I hope you’ll join us –  for more information or to RSVP, contact  Alice Chamberlain at alice@cco.org

Thank you for everything you’ve done.

In faith,

Rev. Susan McCann

PS: We’re taking prayer requests for low wage workers. If you’ve got one you’d like to share, click here. Or if you’d like to pray for low wage workers, contact alice@cco.org

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