Kay Whigan stands 6 feet, 3 inches tall and has a deep and booming voice. A welding instructor at the John J. Flynn Bricklayers International Training Center in Maryland, Kay admits that one of his biggest fears about becoming an instructor was how his students would perceive him. As a Black man who grew up in Alabama, Whigan said he’s no stranger to racism. So, as an instructor, he worried that his appearance might be intimidating. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to take the job,” says Whigan, but “they told me I’d be good at it because of how I carry myself and how I treat people. When I’m working with someone—whether it’s a student in the shop or a worker on the job—I want them to feel nourished and uplifted. We need to make a point to lend one another a helping hand.” Click here to read more about what Black training leaders are doing to build a more diverse and inclusive union.
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