“The Sweet Taste of Luxury and Justice”: Kulemia’s Story

Kulemia Masalla came to the Workers’ Rights Clinic in 2013 after suffering workplace discrimination. After reviewing her case back in the office, EJC staff realized she had a living wage claim (a higher wage required by a government contract) as well. EJC’s Advocacy team accompanied her to the Office of Wage and Hour and later helped her testify in front of the DC Council in support of the Wage Theft Prevention Act. Below, Kulemia tells her story:


From Times of old, justice is a LUXURY, not for the poor. We might pretend today, but the rich man has high society and power on his side. The rich has the rich and even the poor on his side ( he has it all!), and when he gives orders, usually wrong selfish orders, the poor must obey or lose his daily bread!!! But it’s amazing what an organization like the EJC can do for the desperate poor. The EJC is there to give the poor the SWEET TASTE AND LUXURY OF JUSTICE.

I had problems at work and also realized that besides my problem, I was also not adequately paid the DC living wage like I was supposed to be paid. I sought advice from somebody in the high ranks of the company who assured me that what I was already being paid was what I had to be paid!

In my search for solutions, I found the EJC on the web and immediately went to cry on their shoulders. They were welcoming, consoling, passionate, attentive, Patient, they always had time to offer to so many people demanding their attention. Though I had been to the DC Office of Wage-Hour, they accompanied me there again, and it was different when they went with me. They went with me to testify against wage theft at a hearing at the DC Council and solicit funding for discipline and greater enforcement of the law. They scanned my problem to come up with a solution which has changed the fate of Health Aides in Washington DC today. Home Health Aide Workers, all over Washington DC, we owe the implementation of the raise in our wages to the EJC!

The living wage had not been increasing over the years and never implemented  like they were supposed to because the employers had the knife and the cake and dished it out the way they pleased. And as it would be, the poor is so unaware of his rights. He just wants “something to eat.” But the EJC wholly understands the plight of the poor!

I thank the EJC, not only for the wage increase, but also for the education of the common worker. The health Aides now know that they have to check their wages on a yearly basis on the mayor’s website to be updated with changes. Education is power no matter its dosage. I  am immensely thankful to the EJC for their endless and countless services to the poor. I thank EJC for their selflessness and kind heart to fight for those who lack the “strength to fight”.

                        KULEMIA MASALLA.