San José: Using “People Power” for Change
Research by Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton's Social Action class at San José State showed that a city-wide minimum wage increase would stimulate the local economy without growing unemployment or harming small businesses. In addition, research showed that it would help low-wage workers afford Silicon Valley's steep housing costs. Students created the Campus Alliance for Economic Justice, which met with community, faith and labor leaders to raise San José's minimum wage from $8 to $10 an hour. The coalition raised awareness by phone banking, canvassing and speaking to the media about their own experiences struggling to get by on minimum wage. Volunteers collected 36,000 signatures to place Measure D on the fall ballot. The measure passed with 60 percent of the vote and 40,000 workers are now eligible for a pay raise. Students credit the change to “people power!”
“Now that the measure has passed, I feel motivated to make more change," says Leila McCabe, '12 Sociology, who worked as a minimum wage server and barista before graduating. "Change can be made through the system we have.”
—Leila McCabe, San José State student
research empowering communities:
Voice of Reflection, an exhibit of the images and thoughts of youth growing up in public housing, was the culminating event of a three-year community-based research project done in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of Waterman Gardens and CSU San Bernardino psychology students, under the mentorship of Dr. David Chavez.
In partnership with local nonprofits, community groups and local farmers, San Diego State students enrolled in Geography 496 utilized their training in social science research to respond to the need for more detailed information on food access and alternative food initiatives impacting residents in three San Diego neighborhoods.