On April 21, three leaders of CWA's Civil Rights and Equity Committee (CRE) and Women's Committee led a discussion with graduate students studying international workers' rights at Cornell and Pennsylvania State Universities about the challenges faced by frontline labor activists and organizers, who often find themselves fighting racism while building worker power.
National CRE Chair Fred Smith told the audience, "Organizing in the deep South around issues of racism has presented its challenges, but our members – both Black and White – are stepping up to the challenge and are having the tough conversations we need around racism."
CWA District 6 CRE member Reginald Small, who has facilitated CWA's Building an Anti-Racist Union training, urged the students – many of whom are union organizers themselves – to learn as much as possible about the issues. "Education is the key to change in our communities and in our union," he said. "Only by knowing our history can we prepare the next generation of CWA leaders."
All three leaders shared practical strategies and offered advice and encouragement. National Women's Committee Chair Natashia Pickens told the young people, "Don't stop organizing and don't stop fighting against the forces of oppression, even when it seems like the odds are stacked against you. Remain united and in community because together we are powerful!"