On Monday, the AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Department and the NAACP DC Branch hosted the first Race and the Labor Movement Town Hall. In light of the recent racial injustices in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and most recently the brutal racially motivated killings in Charleston, S.C., the town hall provided a space for an open conversation on race and the role it plays in the lives of millions of workers across the country.
The town hall, the first in a series of ten to be held in various cities in the coming months, is the product of the AFL-CIO Executive Council who unanimously voted in February to create a Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice. The Commission, which aims to explore racial issues within the labor movement, acknowledges that the voices of all working people must be heard on complex racial issues in order to advance the fight for workers’ rights. Monday’s town hall which featured remarks by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C) as well as panelists from various organizations including Black Lives Matter and the Black Worker Center, gave local workers the opportunity to voice their stories.
Following Norton’s remarks and introductory comments from the panelists, the town hall was opened for general discussion from attendees. A few highlights from the conversation can be found below:
An ally is not passive. An ally needs to have the conversations, join the movements, and actively do the work. #RaceTownHall— Meghana (@megsnewcar) June 30, 2015
The AFL-CIO plans to continue this important conversation on the intersection of race and labor in the months ahead.