As "ban the box" gains more momentum, we should remember that the substance of this effort is rooted in something deeply American. It advocates for equity and justice -- giving qualified job seekers a fair opportunity. But it also suggests that the foibles of our pasts don't impair the promises of our lives.
One strategy focuses on getting elected officials in local and state governments to adopt minimum wages above the federal level. The other strategy involves putting pressure on major employees -- typically highly visible companies that depend on positive public relations to gain consumers' dollars -- to raise the wages of their employees.
On Monday, Seattle struck a blow against rising inequality when its City Council unanimously adopted a citywide minimum wage of $15 an hour, the highest in the nation. This dramatic change in public policy is partly the result of changes brought about by last November's Seattle municipal elections. But it is also the consequence of years of activism in Seattle and around the country.