Pyerse Dandridge is a leader in ACT’s work to increase the minimum wage. He has experienced the struggle to live on minimum wage noting that employers want workers with a grown up schedule, work ethic, and experience, but only want to pay them a teenager’s wage. He believes that when you pay employees a living wage, they have more ownership in the business which works to everyone’s advantage.
How did you get involved in ACT?
I met Danielle, ACT organizer, through the Urban League Young Professionals. She invited me to become involved in ACT.
What issues have you worked on?
I worked on the Proposition 47 phone bank and the get out the vote precinct walks. I am currently working on advocating for an increase in the minimum wage. These two issues go hand in hand; it is critical that formerly incarcerated individuals can earn a decent wage when they come home. After coming out of prison camp I faced the challenges of reintegration into my community. This makes me want to help others who are in a similar situation.
What was a moment when you realized the power of organizing?
When Proposition 47 passed I was frankly surprised. I realized that it passed because of the power of organizing, because we got the word out. It was the volume of our effort that made it work.
What does it mean to be a multi-faith organization?
When we work together on behalf of the whole community, we find that our differences do not matter. Through working with ACT I have met so many different people. Our common passion is helping our community.
Why do you work with ACT?
I work with ACT because it is about working in community. We put our differences aside to work for something greater that benefits our community. Working to build a healthy and just community makes me feel good.
How have you grown and been challenged personally through your work with ACT?
I have been challenged to be patient through my work with ACT, and to learn to work with different personalities. After being patient and giving time for issues and relationships to unfold, I find that we are often on the same page. I am also learning how to negotiate in power settings and how to advocate in a professional way.
What is your vision of a healthy, thriving community?
In a healthy, thriving community everyone gets what they need. It is a land of abundance.
How do you want people to reflect on ACT 10 years from now? What would you want them to say?
I want people to say that we made a difference in the community, and that we gave a lot of people second chances through our work on Proposition 47 and increasing the minimum wage.
For more about Pyerse Dandridge please go to www.pyersedandridge.com