Developing a pet cause in college is a rite of passage as expected as changing one’s major five or six times, but something tells us Virginia defensive back Joseph Williams isn’t the type to chain himself to a historic tree to impress a girl. Williams is part of a hunger strike being undertaken by a group of UVA students to raise awareness for the Living Wage Campaign, which seeks to increase university employee pay to $13 an hour with benefits.
It’s a cause that’s particularly personal to Williams, as he explains in a blog entry:
As one of four children supported by a single mother, I have experienced many periods of economic hardship in my life. Growing up, I moved over 30 times – including various stays in homeless shelters, the homes of family friends, and church basements. As a result of these experiences, I know firsthand what the economic struggle is like for many of these underpaid workers. One UVa employee anonymously shared that though she works full time for the University, over 40 hours a week, her family was still forced to go without electricity for nearly 3 months, unable to pay for the rent, electric bill and other basic necessities on the meager wages she is paid by the University. Such stories are the reason that I and countless other Living Wage supporters have chosen to take up this cause and give a voice to the many University employees who often cannot speak up for fear of retaliation from the administration.
Williams would go on to letter in three sports, graduate from high school at 16 and walk on to the Cavaliers. He’s since seen action in two games.
UVA begins spring practice March 19.