In the fifth episode of Hard Earned, De'Jaun (DJ) Jackson, 23, quits his job at Walgreens to ramp up his work as a union organiser.
DJ has joined the Workers Organising Committee of Chicago to work on "Fight for 15" - a campaign to raise hourly wages.
|Meet the Hard Earners - The working-class people at the heart of our six-part documentary series
He now makes twice what he earned at Walgreens, and although he's working more than 40 hours a week, DJ finds his new role fulfilling. "I understand the struggle," DJ says. "That's all this job is about and I enjoy it. It's fun. Tiring? But I enjoy it, I really do."
Although he's bringing in more money - and the family are able to enjoy a rare outing at the mall - DJ says he still walks in the shoes of the workers he's fighting for, whom he believes society is too quick to judge.
"The public per se look at McDonald's workers and Walgreens or Macy's workers just like, You guys made the choice to do that or not do something in life to have success. Wrong," says DJ. "There are people working at McDonald’s, working fry machines that just wasn’t given an opportunity.”
Emilia reflects on her former drug and alcohol addictions, and later receives a surprise, paid opportunity to bring her personal story to a larger audience.
Jose and Elizabeth draw closer to buying a new home where their parents can also live.
We see how Hilton and Diana are coping with their recent loss after complications with Diana's pregnancy. In anticipation of having children, the couple had moved out of their one-bedroom garage in a trailer park and into a bigger home and Hilton juggled two jobs. Still, Hilton's hard work hasn't gone unnoticed and he gets tipped for a managerial position.
For the families whose stories we're following in Hard Earned , post-recession hardship starts to give way to some new opportunities and fresh starts.
Source: Al Jazeera