I had the great privilege of working with Michael R. Ferrari Award for Distinguished University Service and Leadership winner Tara Perez for two years. My work with her, however, was not on the College Resource Committee but on the Living Wage Campaign.
The Living Wage Campaign, headed by Perez, was a group of Fort Worth and TCU community leaders advocating for an increase in the university’s starting wage for Physical Plant and housekeeping employees. Perez advocated tirelessly for five years. She was met with fierce opposition by university administrators until last year, when the Living Wage team learned that the TCU’s starting wage was heavily increased. I believe this was one of the largest percentage hikes in the budget.
The creation of a path toward a living wage at TCU could not have been completed without Perez. Her community organization skills motivated people from all walks of life to work together toward this common goal. The ignorance of her work in the Living Wage Campaign by the university is no surprise, considering their long opposition to a measure that simply shows appreciation for hard work. Despite what she was officially acknowledged for, I will always remember Perez as a moral crusader for many things but most importantly, a more economically just world.
James Russell is a junior anthropology and sociology major from Fort Worth.