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Protesters at Nevada Capitol demand $15 minimum wage

Black Lives Matter demonstrators said uniting with other groups will give their movement more strength.

Dozens of protesters marched outside of the state capitol in Carson City demand for the minimum wage to be increased to $15 an hour.

Protesters say they're supporters of social justice and part of the national Moral Monday movement.

"Raising the minimum wage and providing them the right to unionize will help them have quality healthcare, quality life and a better way to take care of their families. With just that as the start, we're hoping that can also help with fighting for immigrant justice and racial justice," said A.J Buhay, economic justice organizer with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. "Black and brown people are suffering right now. So we want to give them the space and opportunity to speak up for themselves and raise the voices of the marginal line."

For Las Vegas native Luc Perez, she said she has been teaching for over a decade and struggles to make ends meet.

Perez said that it does not make sense that as someone who works in child care, she cannot afford child care for her own children. She said that since moving here since she was 8 years old from Mexico, she has always been trying to live the "American Dream."

Raising the living wage would help her save for her daughter's future, she said. "I will have a saving for her to go college. Also, we can make our dream come true to buy a house because we will be paying our bills on time and everything. My dream is to get a house," said Perez.

But there are other social justice battles being brought forward, such as expanding worker's rights and immigrant and racial justice.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt challenged President Obama's executive action on immigration.

"We're hoping and we're going to be praying that he'll have a change of heart," said Buhay.

This topic strikes a cord with Perez, who sees first-hand the academic impact it has on her students.

"It's been hard also for the kids who have moms. They come and tell me, 'My mom is not with me, somebody took her.' Seeing those kids, it breaks my hearts," said Perez.

There was also a black lives matter speech at the protest. The group believes that uniting and standing together will give them a louder roar.

"So at this point, we're not asking, we're demanding. That's what we chose to do today. To storm into Governor [Brian] Sandoval's office and let him know that those in the faith and freedom community are not taking anymore. We will continue to be a voice for the voiceless and stand for those who are sitting," said activist Minister Stretch Sanders.

The group dropped off a petition with 3,000 signatures at the governor's office. Sandoval was not present at the time.

STATEMENT FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE

“The Governor’s Chief of Staff talked with the group this morning and listened to their concerns. The Governor has received the petitions and will review their requests but in the past, he has opposed raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Nevada’s economy is primarily driven by small businesses and mandating a wage increase of that level would likely mean a loss of jobs or healthcare benefits for many Nevadans.”

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