Raise the Wage to Raise My Son

Photographer Jean Melesaine follows 21 year old Alex "Merc" Matua, a young father who tells De-Bug why that extra two dollars proposed to voters in this years ballot(Measure D) would change his life for him and his family.

In San Jose, Measure D, to be voted on this coming election, would raise minimum wage from eight dollars to ten dollars an hour. San Jose native, 21-year-old Merc Matua, a young struggling father who, though working wo minimum wage jobs says, "I'm barely skating by."Currently in transition of moving to a new home because the rent was too high, Merc says, "How can anyone pay for even low rent housing with minimum wage stuck at 8?"

7 month old Deandre spends time with his father before Merc goes to work.

"My son is good, he's okay. I don't care how bummy I look, I sacrifice everything for him."

"It's not easy, I can't even afford to buy clothes for an interview."

"I'm working alot, so when I'm off, I try to spend as much time as I can with him."

An aspiring music producer, Merc hopes to return to college when Deandre turns one.


"I just wished those in charge would put themselves in my position, and I mean from the start. With no transportation to an interview, no clothes for an interview, and still able to get two jobs. Nobody should have to live like this in San Jose, if they work so hard."

About Jean Melesaine

Jean Melesaine is a queer Samoan community activist, documentary photographer and editor with Silicon Valley De-Bug. 

This article is part of the category: Photo 
This article is part of the tags: Documentary Photography  / Jean Melesaine  / Measure D  / Merc Matua  / San Jose Measure D  / San Jose Minimum Wage  / Young Fathers 


I just want my son Alex to know how proud I am of him. Son, you are an excellent father and a great son. I love you very much !

Post a comment

Valid XHTML 1.0 Valid CSS