Please! Whole Foods is not the cause but a symptom of “gentrification” in JP. That City Feed, with its exorbitant prices, could not only survive but expand is only one hint that “the gentry” are already well placed in that neighborhood.
And jobs alone will not end the displacement of the working poor — a living wage is essential if working people are to adequately house and feed themselves and their children. Minimum wage is currently $8/hour, which yields a monthly pre-tax gross income for a 40-hour week of about $1,280. That brings take-home pay to less than $1,000.
Rents in Greater Boston far exceed what working people can afford to pay, but those rents are what “the market” supports. Even working two jobs at minimum wage, one may be able to pay rent, but food, clothing and other essentials remain out of reach. Unions are the only way working people can band together to protect their interests and fight for a living wage.
There is no quick fix to the complex issue of displacement of working people from Boston neighborhoods and employment is only one piece of the socioeconomic puzzle. This problem is ultimately the result of the system which we, as a nation, have chosen. That system rewards aggressive competition to the detriment of community building and self-interest before the greater good.
As the president-elect of American Association of University Women-Massachusetts, it was my pleasure while at our AAUW National Convention held last month in Washington, D.C. to meet Edith Arana, one of the brave women who participated in the Supreme Court case, Dukes v. Wal-Mart.
It was then quite upsetting to learn that the case would not be allowed to go forward as a class-action suit. Women deserve and have waited long enough for equity in politics, in the workplace, in society and especially in their paychecks.
Please join me in thanking these women for their efforts and the continued struggle that they and women across this country must endure — as we say in AAUW — "Because Equity is STILL an Issue!"
Barbara (Monteiro) Burgo