A Woman of the Labor Movement

It’s Labor Day weekend!

For some people this is just another random day off but for the labor movement, this is our moment.

Labor Day means so much to so many people, in many different sorts of ways. To me, this is the time that various labor unions and their members come together across the country in solidarity, brotherly love and sisterly affection. We come together to celebrate how far we have come and what we building in this country for working people.

In Philadelphia there’s normally a parade every year but considering our current situation, you already know the deal. *eye roll*

Sometimes I feel like a broken record but then I always remember that there’s someone out there who hasn’t heard my story.

I wasn’t even old enough to drink when I was first approached by a labor organizer who was organizing my workplace at a casino in Atlantic City.

I’ve always been a very vocal person in the face of inequality. In elementary school I got into a lot of fights, usually defending people who were being mistreated. As an adult I still do this. No matter the consequences. No matter if I’m afraid.

Prior to meeting this union organizer, I had no idea what a labor union was. I later found out that I actually have the union in my blood. I have grandparents and great grandparents that were movers and shakers within their unions back in the day.

This makes me smile.

A woman named Danielle (Dani) pointed me in the direction of the movement and shortly after introduced me to my union family. They showed me a better way to stand up for myself in my workplace and this literally change the trajectory of my life.

The union changed my life.

My entry point into the social justice movement comes from women being verbally abused and sexually harassed in the workplace. It is not easy to work in a casino. Aside from my personal story with sexual-harassment in the restaurant that I worked in, I later on would encounter countless women also dealing with bosses taking advantage of them in the same manner.

As a labor activist, organizer and representative, this is one issue I don’t play with.

When I die I want to be remembered as someone who was a champion for women.

Speaking of women, I will leave you with some links to start or refresh your research on the many Black women in the movement that have paved the way for all of us. There are so many more but these were the first couple I thought of today.

To be a Black women in the labor movement today is to be tough. Not even the union is a perfect place for Black people. Everyday we push forward regardless of the obstacles in front of us.

We are the movement.

Ella Josephine Baker

Fannie Lou Hamer

Marsha P Johnson

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