CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings, who heads CWA's Human Rights Program, issued this statement as part of the observation of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Each year, Americans across the country observe the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by engaging in community service. This year, I am honored to serve as co-chair of the AFL-CIO's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference, which will be held in my home town, Houston, TX.
Our theme is "Reclaiming Our Dream: Strategize, Organize, Mobilize." At this critical time for our country, activists and community leaders are joining together to use our collective power to ensure that working communities can thrive and families can enjoy the fruits of their labor.
I am proud that CWA members have continued to lead this fight for economic and social justice. Through our Fight Forward program, CWA members are learning how they can be agents of change, then joining with allies to tackle the most pressing issues facing their communities. At a time when national political leaders are trying to roll back the clock and undo decades of progress, we remain committed to preserving, protecting, and expanding our democracy.
We're fighting to hold elected officials accountable to the people, not large corporations, by supporting public and small donor financing initiatives, like the one we helped pass in Howard County, MD, last year.
We're fighting to make sure everyone is treated fairly at work, negotiating contracts like the one at AT&T Mobility that protects working people against discrimination based on gender identity, even in 16 states where no non-discrimination law covering this category exists.
We're fighting for the right to vote, serving on the voting rights task force of the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights to challenge voter suppression legislation and successfully suing to ensure that state workers in New Mexico have paid time off to vote in municipal elections.
We're fighting for paid family leave, joining the Work & Family Coalition to win expanded family leave in California that includes employees working for small businesses.
We're fighting to protect working people from the threat of deportation by urging Congress to pass legislation that provides a path to citizenship for immigrants.
We're fighting for good, family- and community-supporting jobs, which is why CWA recently filed suit to prevent AT&T from laying off workers in their southwest region while continuing to outsource and offshore jobs.
Last year Houston and southeastern Texas were devastated by Hurricane Harvey. In the aftermath of the storm, I stood shoulder to shoulder with people from all walks of life, as we distributed supplies and started the long process of rebuilding our communities. In that moment, I was reminded of Dr. King’s words, "Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve."
Let's strive for greatness as we work together to reclaim Dr. King's dream.