Ray Abernathy died September 12 of complications of brain cancer. An advertising, public relations, political and labor consultant for more than 40 years, his work specialized in strategic communications for advocacy campaigns and crisis management, with extensive experience in framing and creating messages. Radicalized by the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he got involved in the civil rights movement, handled media strategy for Atlanta’s striking sanitation workers, and became a PR consultant to Mrs. King, helping her organize a succession of MLK birthday celebrations. In the 1980s, Abernathy founded a boutique communications firm in Washington D.C. to exclusively serve labor unions and left of center nonprofits. Abernathy’s strategic approach to communications played a vital role in many labor movement victories, including the successful airline strike of American Airlines flight attendants in 1993, the 1996 Bridgestone-Firestone rubberworkers strike and many more. In recent years he wittily held forth on a wide range of subject on his blog From the Left Bank of the Potomac. A memorial service is being planned for later this fall; condolences can be shared on his Facebook page or mailed to Denise Mitchell (3207 Morrison Street NW, Washington, DC 20015). In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to one of the organizations that reflect Ray Abernathy’s passions: An Open Book Foundation; CURE or Working America.
The Employment Justice Center is hosting a Back to School themed twitter storm on Paid Sick Days starting at 1pm today. “We want to help parents remember that not only do they have the right to paid sick days in DC but they can also use them to care for their kids if they are sick,” says EJC organizer Emma Cleveland. Follow #paidsickdays and retweet three tweets from 1-3pm to participate.
NoVA Labor Labor-to-Labor precinct walks resume tomorrow following the unexpected passing of longtime Virginia labor leader Harry Dull last week. “Let’s dedicate this Saturday to Harry!” urges NoVA Labor president Dan Duncan. The walks are at a new location, Machinists Lodge 1759 (see calendar for details), starting at 9a, with “Plenty of parking and coffee, juice, bagels and donuts.” Special bonus this week: CWA’s Carrie Biggs-Adams will have mums for sale from her Colmar Manor Garden Club for $10 each; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org “Looking forward to seeing you on what should be another beautiful Saturday,” says Duncan.