Monday, August 31, 2009

Mayor Franklin's Farewell

Yesterday, as one of my very first adventures as a 9to5 intern, I got the chance to attend Mayor Shirley Franklin’s Roundtable meeting with National Organizing Director Cindia Cameron and 9to5 member Marilynn Winn. Cindia and Marilynn were guests on the speaker panel alongside Lisa Borders, President of Atlanta City Council, and the mayor herself. The crowd of about 160 women (and a few men) that gathered included state policy makers, elected officials, and Shirley Franklin fans, many of whom had attended every single one of the 15 plus Roundtable breakfasts that have been held during the mayor’s eight years in office.

The Roundtables of the past have discussed a wide range of serious issues affecting women in Atlanta. Yesterday’s meeting highlighted some of the most concrete ways Mayor Franklin has helped make change in the lives of women. Cindia told the story of the mayor’s collaboration with 9to5 and the Living Wage Coalition that led to one of the greatest gains for low-income women during Mayor Franklin’s time in office; raising the minimum pay rate for city employees to the living wage of $10.50/hr. After Cindia spoke about the Coalition, Marilynn Winn, one of our own Atlanta 9to5 members, spoke courageously about the struggles she faces working for minimum wage and the great need for work still to be done. Marilynn received a standing ovation from the audience for her poignant speech.

Mayor Franklin also added a personal note to the presentation, sharing a bit about her experience as an African-American woman in the political arena. To hear both a powerful politician and a minimum wage worker speak together about gender as a root cause of her struggle in the workplace was a powerful example of why the work of 9to5 is as important as ever, and a reminder of why women must continue to speak out and share their stories.

Check out the pictures and video of Marilynn speaking at the event on the 9to5 page.

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