DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The loud chants, led by Rev. Dr. William Barber II Thursday evening, came from a place of concern.

“Living wages now! Dignity now! Saving lives now!” Barber shouted.

The concerns are over pay.

“We have to decide if we are going to pay the cable bill this month, the rent, the water, car payment,” Venus Sanders said in front of the crowd of dozens.

Thursday, United States Senator Bernie Sanders hosted the Rally to Raise the Wage event at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham.

“Let us pass a minimum wage bill that is a living wage.  Congress can no longer ignore the needs of the working class of this country in a time of massive income and wealth inequality,” Sanders stated.

The Rally to Raise the Wage event is part of a three-city tour, with its first stop in Durham Thursday, to demand congress to raise the minimum wage.

Sanders addressed the crowd of supporters virtually because of the debt ceiling vote.

Right now, the minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25.

Sanders hopes to raise the minimum wage to $17 an hour.  

“It is a national disgrace. Really quite unspeakable that congress has not passed an increase in the minimum wage since 2007,” he mentioned.

Back in April, North Carolina Senators Sydney Batch and Graig Meyer, along with other advocates, called on lawmakers to back bills that help with better pay and paid leave for workers.

“Some things aren’t about left versus right and conservative versus liberal — but they are simply about right versus wrong,” mentioned Barber.

The rally to raise the wage tour will continue over the next couple of days and will make stops in Nashville, TN and Charleston, S.C.