Calls for higher minimum wage in Kentucky

Calls for higher minimum wage in Kentucky
Published: Jul. 29, 2023 at 10:32 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Lyric Theatre hosted “Kentuckians for the Commonwealth,” a group whose aim is to combat poverty in the Bluegrass State.

It was a night fueled by faith and a fervor for change.

“Wherever there’s been full transformation in America, it’s when the rejected have come together,” said Reverend William Barber.

Rev. Barber, who was once banned from Kentucky’s state capitol, spoke at the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth annual meeting and on behalf of the Poor People’s Campaign.

Barber demanded elected officials better financially help their constituents, while also calling on constituents to speak up for others with empathy.

“When you get up, you get up high. You get up with a bigger heart. You get up with more compassion,” said Rev. Barber.

A core push by Rev. Barber is for Kentucky to raise its minimum wage, which sits at $7.25/hour.

“We’ve not raised the minimum wage for 14 years. Fourteen years. Everything else has gone up,” said Rev. Barber. “Prices have gone up. Productivity and workers have gone up. Congresspeople’s salaries have gone up. Workers, low wage workers have stayed the same.”

This year’s meeting focused on uplifting the voices of BIPOC Kentuckians and facing existing structures that have hindered the ability for all Kentuckians to succeed.

“Because we have come up through a white supremacist structure, we really have to reckon with matters of race in order to advance toward that goal,” said Joan Brannon, co-executive of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

Tomorrow, Rev. Barber will speak in Louisville.