“Minimum wage is such an important issue because $7.25 just doesn’t make sense,” Whitfield said. “You can’t raise a family, you can’t move forward and you can’t take steps to better your life if you have to work two or three jobs to survive.”
An attendee of protests since the Vietnam War, Asheville resident Ted Spirakis, who is also a member of the Yancey-Mitchell chapter of the NAACP, said his presence represents more than his own opinions.
“I am here fighting for all the people that don’t have a voice or can’t be here,” he said.
Mary Dooley, a member of Democratic Socialists and Triangle Women for Bernie, said the issue of minimum wage is personal for her because many of her family members are currently working for minimum wage.
“I think that this is at the heart of why many people are having a terrible time in the United States today,” Dooley said. “This affects blacks; it affects women; it affects Latinos. It’s a wide, cross-demographic issue.”
And Dena Papazoglou, a Chapel Hill resident, said she attended the rally because she is concerned about the state moving in the wrong direction on a number of issues.
“I have kids, and I’m concerned about the future,” she said. “(The state legislature) is dismantling the protections that make our state a great place to live.”