Cabral has been a member of the National Organizing Committee, has testified in front of the Wage Board, and has served as a mouthpiece for the cause. “I’m the one bringing all my coworkers out and saying they can fight for $15. That’s what I’ve been doing during the two years,” she says.
She’s also seen real change through her organization’s efforts, with the Fight for $15 winning $15 an hour across New York, California, and Seattle and seeing significant raises in cities like Chicago and Portland, Oregon. These efforts will all be put into place in the next few years, and the Fight for $15 will continue to argue for union rights.
“I went inside Cuomo’s office and I talked to him face to face and told him, ‘You know, all of those people outside screaming and yelling and taking off time from work to be here? All of those people want to work,’” Cabral says. “We’re paying taxes. We don’t do this because we want to do it. We are workers. Hard workers. We aren’t asking to be rich. We just ask for a decent salary, so we can survive, so we can feed our family.”
Cabral’s specific focus is on higher education, a hope she has for her own children. “So many mothers don’t have any savings to send their children to college, because with minimum wage, it’s not enough,” she says. “Right now, we’re getting paid check by check. With the minimum wage we get, we can only pay rent and food and bills.”
While Cabral serves as an inspirational voice to many, she says the Fight for $15 looks to another motivational leader: Martin Luther King, Jr. “He did so many things for black people and the community, so we follow him step by step,” she says. “We’re doing almost the same thing as what he was doing. Right now, we don’t have a hero anymore. I don’t see anybody being a hero for anyone.”
But when she looks around her, she sees heroes in her coworkers and those fighting alongside her. “We use the word unstoppable, because we are unstoppable. No man can stop us until we get what we need. Because this is what we need, not what we want. It’s what we need to survive.”