It isn’t hard to spot Francis Nichols in Orlando, Florida — or whom he supports for president. At 6'2", he describes himself as a well-polished "walking billboard" for AFGE and Hillary Clinton. When he took leave from his job in Washington last month to get involved in the upcoming election, he had Clinton’s campaign logo artfully shaved into the side of his head. The election isn’t the only thing on his mind, however. Nichols has several close friends, as well as family ties in Florida’s third largest metropolitan area. On the night of the devastating massacre at Pulse nightclub, Nichols was in Washington, D.C., for the Capital Pride Parade. He feels a personal duty, particularly as AFGE’s national pride coordinator, to represent his friends who were slain that night. "I would have been in that nightclub with my friends," he said. "It could have been me." Francis works at a federal law enforcement agency, which "is not the easiest for an openly gay black male," he said. When he experienced discrimination in the workplace, the union answered his call for support. Nichols also plays a crucial role in supporting youth engagement in the labor movement. In AFGE’s 14th District, he is a coordinator for the Young Organizing Unions for the Next Generation. His message to young people originates from the struggle of those who gave their lives to secure the workplace rights that many take for granted today. Nichols said he tells younger people, "You pay for health insurance, you pay for car insurance, you even have insurance on your smartphone — why not protect your job?" Now that it’s campaign season, he wants to make sure the country’s elected leaders support working people and the LGBTQ community. So he’s taken his energy and talent for advocacy to the battleground state of Florida...read more here.
DC LABORFest 2021