March 23, 2014
This year's seder focused on the extreme income inequality present in the United States, and on the need for decent, livable wages.
We used a physical activity to make inequality tangible, in which 1% of the seder participants (Rabbi Richman, Jacob Feinspan, and MC Andy Kirschner) owned 40% of the room's total wealth! They were not well received.
We sang several great re-written folk and holiday songs. "The Wages they need-a-raising" was especially popular! (Download the Haggadah to see the full song lyrics, along with great graphics and text that relate the issue of inequality to Passover).
Isaiah Beamon, an associate at Walmart and member of OUR Walmart, spoke about the extreme hardship of trying to support a family on the minimum wage. Lawrence Mishel, President of the Economic Policy Institute, told the history of the minimum wage, and described how the last 30 years have seen a concerted effort by big business and conservative politicians to lower wages.
Together, we took action to raise wages statewide in Maryland, fight employer retaliation in Virginia, and combat wage theft in D.C. We are determined to make hard work pay better for more people in our region.