On December 17, the Washington, D.C. City Council officially approved an $11.50 minimum wage. The students from Ballou S.T.A.Y. High School who participated in AFSC’s Human Rights Learning Program played an important role in achieving this victory.  

Ballou S.T.A.Y High School is located in Ward 8, one of the most economically challenged sections of Washington, D.C. The Human Rights Learning Program works with young adults from Ballou who are preparing for the GED while finding ways to make ends meet with minimum wage jobs. They enthusiastically embraced the minimum wage campaign led by D.C. Jobs with Justice and its affiliates, including the AFSC-DC Peace and Economic Justice program.

Program participants chose the minimum wage as their human right project, framing the issue as a violation of article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Section 3, which states: “Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.” They joined the city-wide campaign by distributing flyers at metro stations, making calls to their city council members, and educating other students about the importance of raising minimum wage in the District. It is with great satisfaction that they received the news of the passage of the bill. We celebrate with them and are proud to see our young people use the human rights framework as a tool to engage in social change.

To see news coverage of this victory, visit http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/DC-Council-to-Take-Final-Minimum-Wage-Vote-236167151.html