I am white, privileged and educated. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh summa cum laude and I cannot afford to live here. I was only able to live here (and by “here,” I mean Bradenton) because of the generosity of my parents for the last two years.
Almost all of my friends live at home. We are in our 20s and 30s, working service-related jobs because this area offers little to no professional work. At $11.87 and hour, I hustle 40 hours a week as a library assistant at Selby Library in downtown Sarasota, and on the weekends I babysit, dog sit, cat sit… or just “sit” (as in doing laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, etc.)
Don’t get me wrong, I love Selby. I love books, my coworkers, the idealism and freedom that public libraries still offer. I don’t love that anything over $10 takes considerable thought as to whether it is necessary or not.
When trying to find affordable housing, I simply had to laugh because all I could budget for on my current salary is $250 a month; a cheap HOA fee for some. I am completely priced out.In a culture (still) deeply divided by race, class and gender. How are our black, brown, Latinx, and queer residents getting by? I am not. They are not. We are not.
So I ask you, dear reader, to tip generously, act kindly, and remember all of us invisible folk, the ones who serve you day to day that we are trying so hard to simply make ends meet. Vote to increase minimum wage and take a stand, for us; for this community. Until then, I have to move to where the grass is greener on the other side (as in anywhere, but here).