Melissa Harris-Perry | December 08, 2012
>> that's progressive.
>>> mara castro, heather paulson and kayla mccabe are the very definition of foot soldiers . these young california women are college students at san jose state university who turned a class project into an effective movement for change. their professor told them find a way to make the world a better place. so after some research, the students learned that san jose is among the top ten most expensive cities to live in but the minimum wage is only $8 a hour. the students decided it was time for a change . they learned that in san francisco the city had raised the minimum wage in 2003 and determined that san jose should do the same. they got more students involved. attended city hall meetings and met with city council members. and with the aid of their professor, scott myers lipton, the students got in touch with the south bay labor council, a group that represents 90 local unions. the labor council recommended that the students raise some money and do some polling so they did. the students raised $6,000 and hired a polling agency, which found that about 70% of people polled were in favor of increasing the city's minimum wage . then the unions got on board. they pledged $100,000. but the students didn't just hand off the fight. in order to qualify for the november ballot the campaign needed 20,000 signatures. within five weeks and with the help of the labor council the students had 36,000 signatures. and when they gathered in front of the statue on their campus, a san jose state alum and olympic legend john carlos and tommy smith , they raised their fists in the air, took off their shoes and marched barefoot to deliver the signatures to city hall . they didn't stop then! their coalition grew as churches and non-profits joined in the effort. and the silicon valley chamber of commerce also took notice. they started pouring money in against the campaign. the mayor of san jose was against it, the california restaurant association was against it but the students didn't stop. they kept on fighting. and they won. the ballot measure passed with 59% of voters making san jose only the fifth city in the nation to implement its own minimum wage increase. early next year, san jose , california minimum wage will rise from $8 an hour to $10 an hour. an increase that will further continue as the consumer price index goes up. all because three college students decided to do something, not just study something but do something to make a difference. for showing how a class project can change the lives of tens of thousands, mary ra castro, heather paulson and kayla mccabe are our foot soldiers of the week. that is our show for today. thank you to eve ensler , ashley bryan, congressman sanchez and carmen juan ulrich. thanks for watching.