SNN: Bands "Honk" for $15 an Hour
Somerville, Mass. – Over two dozen marching bands headed to Downtown Crossing on October 10 to raise awareness and support the fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage legislation.
“The idea is that with everyone organized and music behind it, it’s really powerful, and a great way to make a statement,” Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band member Kate Rieglevanwest told Somerville Neighborhood News (SNN).
The band began their protest at about three o’clock and then separated and marched to three low wage locations.
“I feel music is really at the heart of it because music is and should be active and that’s at the root of activism: doing something active,” said Chuck Lechien, another member of the Somerville-based Emperor Norton band.
“Doing something is really what matters and so music is a great way to get people doing something,” the Somerville resident added.
The band played about 30-minute sets, gathering all types of people in the area who joined the protest as well. As band members banged drums and blasted on their horns, supporters of a movement to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour marched and danced, and many carried signs and banners. Some workers came out to support the rallies
“I think it’s a good idea because some people are struggling every day and some people don’t have enough money,” Chipotle Mexican Grill employee Sabrina Johnson said. “Some people need to pay their student loans, like me, I have to pay my student loans.”
After playing outside of Chipotle, H & M and other retailers, the bands joined back together at Downtown Crossing and marched to Park Street, where they gathered more attention and continued to rally.
“This is a great event bringing together workers from all industries and these bands are really putting a positive message on the work that were doing,” Alex Galimberti, a Somerville resident who is also a member of the restaurant workers organizing project the Restaurant Opportunities Center.