America has a harrowing and atrocious history of racial inequality, and while the labor movement has not been immune, it also has not wavered in its commitment to confront problems of race. This Friday, labor and community leaders will discuss ways to strengthen the ties between the racial justice and labor movements at the Race and the Labor Movement Town Hall, 5p at the AFL-CIO. Speakers will include Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D, DC), Jennifer Bryant, ONE DC’s Black Worker Center, Tiffany Flowers, UFCW 400 Director of Organizing, DC Jobs with Justice’s Nikki Lewis and more. Click here go.aflcio.org/RaceTownhall to RSVP. Throughout the history of the labor movement, people of all colors, nationalities, sexualities, and gender identifications have protested, lobbied, organized, and fought alongside each other to improve the workplace for everyone. In late February, leaders of the AFL-CIO voted to create a new Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice to examine how the federation’s member unions can better address these issues. In early May, after the Baltimore riots against police brutality captivated the nation, One Baltimore United, a coalition of labor and community groups representing tens of thousands of Baltimore residents, called for a comprehensive civil and economic rights recovery program to heal the city. The organization was able to show the Baltimore community that black lives matter in the workplace as well as the streets. Despite our progress, we still have work to do. Young leaders and activists are in the streets around the clock demanding justice for racially motivated crimes against people of color. We must not only continue our own work, but we must stand with those young leaders and activists, and show the world that our movements are one and the same.
by Jeremiah Lowery, Restaurant Opportunities Center