From poverty to policing practices to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in Black communities, as union members, we must begin discussing ways to dismantle racism.
Last Friday, for Juneteenth – an annual celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States – CWA held a Facebook Live event, "From Under the Oppressor's Knee: Workers Rise Up for Black Lives," featuring union leaders, artists, and activists in the movement for racial justice. A panel discussion on building a workers' movement that takes on racism featured CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor, CWA Local 6355 President Natashia Pickens, Nse Ufot of the New Georgia Project, and Kooper Caraway of the Sioux Falls AFL-CIO.
"The work is happening," said Pickens, encouraging all generations of union members to band together to fight against racism. "The conversations are taking place. There’s room for everybody. Younger people are stepping up, while the older people have the history. We’re ready for the responsibility. We're ready to do the work, many people just need the opportunity. Young people, don't be afraid to say yes when you’re asked to do something, even if it seems daunting. And older people, don’t be afraid to say yes when a younger person is asking to do it. It’s okay if they fail. You didn't start off knowing how to do everything. It's been decades of us fighting – we can't let this die."