Earlier this month two dozen workers, clergy and other community folks sat down in the aisles of the Walmart store in Pico Riviera, then moved into the streets, where they were promptly arrested. Why would any group of people – much less some not even directly involved in working at Walmart– voluntarily put themselves in a situation they know will lead to their arrest? Because they feel the injustice of minimum wage jobs, whose schedules are unpredictable and deliberately fall just short of offering enough hours to provide health care benefits and paid sick days. These are among other practices that stores like Walmart refuse to rectify.
Without other ways to redress these grievances, people undertake nonviolent civil disobedience. They decide to deliberately break some small law rather than ignore a larger injustice, as Martin Luther King Jr. argued for during the civil rights movement. They break the law, but they are not criminals,