‘Ferguson Freedom Fighters’ and ‘Fight For 15’ visit UT

Movement groups “Ferguson Freedom Fighters” and “Fight for 15” visited UT Tuesday to spread the word about how crime relates to unemployment and the minimum wage.

A group of “Ferguson Freedom Fighters” and members of the “Fight for $15” movement held a panel about the connection between crime and economics at the University of Tennessee Tuesday, March 3.

Freedom Fighters are people who take part in resistance movements against cruel and unfair governments or systems, and the “Fight for $15” movement is a group of fast-food workers seeking to gain living wages of at least $15 an hour and a union.

Members from both movements explained that more crime is happening because people cannot find jobs, especially ones that pay an adequate amount. Both movements also said that people feel as if they have to commit crimes in order to feed their families.

“If I can commit a crime and make this in one day, why would I work hard for two weeks to make that same amount?” said member of “Fight for $15” and Freedom Fighter Shermale Humphrey.

Further, members said they are tired of feeling like their lives don’t matter, living in a community that does not provide them adequate resources.

Rasheen Aldridge, Freedom Fighter, said, “We are creating a vicious cycle of people just trying to get by.”

Workers are now asking for “living wages” instead of minimum wages, saying that the minimum wage is not high enough to support a person or a family, so that they will be able to comfortably provide for their families and provide a sense of security.

In relation to college students, Melanie Barron, a Ph.D. student at UT, stated that there are clear racial divides and wage gaps on campus, stating that many UT faculty and staff are only making poverty wages.

A rally will be held by Freedom Fighters, “Fight for $15,” and other groups at UT April 15 and buses will be provided for students to travel to Ferguson and continue the rally.

More information can be found on the group’s Facebook page.

Edited by Hannah Hunnicutt