A shortened version of a speech delivered on Thursday in front of hundreds of fast food workers and their supporters.
I’m Rabbi Ariana Silverman and I’m here with Detroit Jews for Justice.
I know that the Bible obligates employers to be fair to their workers. In the book of Deuteronomy we read “Do not oppress the hired laborer who is in need, whether he is one of your people or one of the sojourners in your land within your gates. Give him his wages [in the daytime,] and do not let the sun set on them, for he is poor, and his life depends on them, lest he cry out to God about you, for this will be counted as a sin for you.”
Today we are crying out. Some of us cry out in the words of our faith traditions, for we believe that treating workers unfairly is truly a sin against God. All of us cry out in the shared language of justice. We are crying out with the simple demand that workers are paid a fair wage of $15/ hour. We cry out with workers across the globe to demand that companies like McDonald’s use their power to lift up workers instead of dragging them down. We are crying out because we know that when we do, we all will win.
Next week Jews around the world will celebrate Passover and recall the Exodus from Egypt. We will celebrate a God who heard the cry of the oppressed. And we will know that story is not over. Our celebration cannot be complete until every worker around the globe is treated with justice and fairness. And so Detroit Jews for Justice stands in solidarity with you today, adding our voices to the cry, and we will do so until this Fight for 15 is won. May God hear each of our voices. May McDonald’s hear each of our voices. May America hear each of our voices. And may our voices be heard around the globe. Thank you.