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October 29, 2015

Minimum Wage Advocates Release New Report, Call on All Presidential Candidates to Support a Raise in Wage

The Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality are releasing a new report chronicling the civil and human rights imperative of raising the minimum wage.

The report, entitled “Raising Wages, Reducing Inequality, Sustaining Families: Why raising the minimum wage is a civil and human rights issue,” leads with the context of the August 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom’s demand for a raise in the minimum wage. It then explores how the nation’s historically low minimum wage is a major driver of income inequality and poverty and how this impacts the civil and human rights of diverse Americans and working families.

This report examines the current state of minimum wage policy on the state and federal level, and the far-reaching benefits of a minimum wage increase. States and localities across the country have acknowledged the problem and begun to raise state and local minimum wages. Yet even with such progress, three-quarters of workers continue to live in states with a minimum wage of $8.00 an hour or less.

The leaders of both organizations are also calling on all of the presidential candidates to take a stand in favor of the wage. To date, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Rick Santorum and Bernie Sanders have all called for raising the wage, but the vast majority of GOP candidates have not.

Click here to download the report.

Quote from Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference:

“The time for all the presidential candidates to take a stand to raise the wage is now. African Americans, Latinos, women, and people with disabilities lag behind in almost every indicator of economic well-being. That’s one reason why raising the minimum wage has been a defining issue for the civil and human rights movement for generations.”

Quote from Peter Edelman, director of the Georgetown University Center on Poverty and Inequality:

“Today’s federal minimum wage, which is too low to keep working families out of poverty, is an imperative human and civil rights issue. The release of this report comes at a critical time, as presidential candidates vie for the attention and support of voters, and states and municipalities across the country continue to build momentum for raising the minimum wage. Presidential candidates should take note and join the wide range of civil rights, labor, business, faith and other organizations and leaders in calling for raising the wage.”

The Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality works with policymakers, researchers, practitioners, and advocates to develop effective policies and practices to alleviate poverty and inequality in the United States. The center's areas of anti-poverty work include policy and program recommendations to help marginalized girls, effective workforce and education policies and programs for disconnected youth, and the development of policy to combat deep poverty.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund's campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

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