19-year old Chris Almendarez, a leader with Sacred Heart Catholic Church, took to the stage to tell 1,000 COPS / Metro leaders about his mother who holds down two jobs with the San Antonio Independent School District -- one from 6am to 4pm and another from 4:30pm to 10pm. He sees her minutes per day between those jobs, and quit college to help his family stay afloat.
"What gets me angry is to think of other children who are growing up without their mom or dad, who don't have support in doing homework, studying, and even making a meal," he said. "SAISD Trustees, are you going to work with us to raise those wages and bring our parents home?"
Flanked by Superintendent Martinez and Trustees Guerrero, Hernandez and Valdez, SAISD Board President Patti Radle responded, "We are grateful to COPS/Metro that because of your involvement, we will be able to raise wages by 20% for our entry level employees this year. But we are not finished....we will be with you in the future to raise it to $13; we'd like to get it to $15, but we'll need ....your help."
Bexar County Commissioners Paul Elizondo and Tommy Calvert also committed to continue raising wages in the county, agreeing to support raising wages to $14/hour for direct employees as well as raising wages for outsourced workers in this upcoming budget cycle. City Councilmembers Ron Nirenberg, Shirley Gonzales, Rebecca Viagran and Robert Trevino also support a wage increase.
See Chris Almendarez's testimony at minute in a NOWCastSA webcast of the assembly.
Blessed Are the History Makers, NOWCastSA
Full report on the assembly, COPS / Metro Alliance