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March Anniversary Spotlights Work Undone

PHOTO: Penny Franklin (right), president of CWA Local 82160 in Christiansburg, attended the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington, and wants President Obama to sign an executive order establishing a "living wage."
PHOTO: Penny Franklin (right), president of CWA Local 82160 in Christiansburg, attended the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington, and wants President Obama to sign an executive order establishing a "living wage."
August 29, 2013

WASHINGTON – When President Barack Obama spoke about racial and economic inequality during his speech Wednesday marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, it was a message that resonated with Penny Franklin.

Franklin is a local union president from southwest Virginia who made the five-hour trip to Washington to be a part of the commemoration, and to express her concerns about economic justice and civil rights.

"We have our black men being killed in the streets for nothing more than being black," she said. "As a mother, as a sister, I cannot live with that any more. Something has to change."

Franklin also joined other labor leaders calling for Obama to sign an executive order that would establish a "living wage" for workers involved with federal government contracts and grants.

Franklin said the president wouldn't need cooperation from Congress to issue such an order.

"People need jobs," she added. "They need good-paying jobs, jobs they can support their families with."


Alison Burns, Public News Service - VA