After moving to Missoula, Montana, I was quickly swept up in a movement that is too important not to share. Good Jobs Missoula is a grassroots, action research campaign that is striving to turn low-wage jobs into good jobs. One of the ways we are trying to bring about this change is through a Photovoice project, Work Through My Lens. This project gives low-wage workers in the service industry the skills and power to speak out against the marginalization they face in a creative and unique way.
“Individuals learn the basics of photography and storytelling and then share their stories using photos and text.”
In the end, these storytelling photos will be selected and printed to form an exhibit that will tour the state of Montana, and ultimately be displayed in the rotunda at the Montana State Capitol building during the legislative session of 2015.
This is a ground breaking experience for service industry workers in my new community and so it pains me to say we are struggling in one area. We are currently attempting to raise $10,000 in the next 10 days (currently about 20% funded) and it is crucial we do so! The money will go to buying much needed equipment and supplies, a stipend for one of our organizers, and a little something to thank the workers who are participating for their hard work and bravery.
Service industry workers make on average $12,706 a year here in Missoula. This is less than half of what is necessary for a single person to have a decent standard of living.
We cannot fail our workers! If all you have is $5 or $10, we would be honored and grateful for your support. Please share what we are doing with your family, friends, and anyone who you think would be interested in helping us meet our goal. We hope this project allows us to serve our own community members and workers, as well as inspiring others around the country to do the same!
Service industry workers have been oppressed for too long and it is high time we rally around our workers and provide the tools and support to ensure their voices are heard. This is not an act of charity, but rather, a responsibility as Americans to guarantee every worker is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Donate to our Photovoice campaign HERE
Find Good Jobs Missoula on Facebook HERE
About the author:
Tess Schleitwiler is a community organizer and graduate student studying social work at the University of Montana.