Strike For Black Lives brings hundreds to downtown Durham

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The midday heat Monday was brutal but not as bad as some of the conditions that service workers and their allies spoke against, with passionate voices.

Hundreds of people gathered near a downtown Durham McDonalds steps away from a new Black Lives Matter street mural message painted in bright red letters. It's part of the Strike For Black Lives activities that happened nationwide.

First, the group knelt with fists raised for nearly nine minutes of silence in the memory of George Floyd, Then they marched to the CCB plaza a few blocks away, where they heard speeches about the need for improved pay.

One of the speakers, Fayetteville health care worker Faith Alexander, told ABC11: "I would like for them to raise the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. I would like for them to supply us with enough N-95s so that we don't have to use the same N-95s over and over again. I would like for them to give us sick pay, hazard pay, for being on the front lines."

She said she and a coworker contracted COVID-19 while tending to sick patients, and she spent six weeks at home while she recovered. It's one reason she and other low-wage workers want hazard pay and more protection when their workplaces have conditions that put their health at risk.

"Our lives matter, on the job and outside the job," said Durham-based landscaping worker Keenan Hartin. "And I really think that everybody should take a look at this, and see what they can do about it."
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.