CWA’s Annual Juneteenth Celebration
On Monday, hundreds of CWAers participated in the annual celebration of Juneteenth by attending a virtual event to reflect on Juneteenth’s history and this significant day’s impact.
This year’s event, hosted by the CWA Human Rights Department, featured union leaders, organizers, activists, and guest speakers at the forefront of transformational movements within their workplaces and communities. CWA National Executive Board Diversity Committee Co-Chairs IUE-CWA President Carl Kennebrew and CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings Jr. participated in the event and spoke to participants about the history and importance of this holiday as well as the ongoing impact of structural racism and effective ways to combat it. CWA National Civil Rights and Equity Committee Chair Reginald Small (CWA Local 6215) also took part in the event. In addition, invited guest speakers, including Beverly Davis, Vice President of Remembering Black Dallas, and Phyliss Craig Taylor, Professor of Law at North Carolina Central University, gave presentations on the intersection of Black history and the fight for freedom with the fight for worker protections and labor rights. Watch the full event here.
In his Juneteenth statement, CWA President Chris Shelton said, “Eradicating systemic racism in our union, our workplaces, and our communities is not something that can be accomplished in a day. It will take decades of difficult, uncomfortable work. But it is work that we absolutely must continue to do in order to live up to CWA’s values by securing the ‘inherent rights and dignities’ of every member.” Read the full statement here.
Across the country, CWAers participated in various Juneteenth celebrations in their communities. This year, several CWA activists took the opportunity to discuss how to engage with state and local broadband expansion plans as part of CWA’s Build Broadband Better campaign. Black communities have often been left behind by internet service providers, a process known as digital redlining. The CWA activists distributed flyers, held one-on-one conversations, and educated community members about the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a federal program that allows low-income families to afford high-speed internet access.
In California, CWAers joined celebrations in Sacramento and Oakland over the Juneteenth weekend. They distributed over 500 flyers promoting the ACP in both English and Spanish and led discussions with community members about the need for broadband expansion.
In Charleston, W. Va., CWAers set up a Build Broadband for All table to promote the ACP and engage with community members about our ongoing campaign to increase broadband access to all communities using skilled union workers.
In Denver, Colo., a group of CWA activists participated in the Juneteenth festival over the weekend to promote the ACP and engage with community members and several organizations about broadband expansion.