AFSA Attends MLK Civil and Human Rights Conference

Kasim Reed, Atlanta Mayor

Kasim Reed, Atlanta Mayor

From January 15-19, AFSA joined hundreds of union and civil rights activists in honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the AFL-CIO’s 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference in Atlanta.

Attendees participated in plenary sessions, workshops and panels, in order to build knowledge and skills on a wide range of important issues, including race; underrepresented groups; development of labor–community relationships, especially with other civil rights organizations, and community service activities. Community service was a focal point of the conference and helped teach participants how to infuse community service into the labor movement.

On Thursday, January 15th, AFSA leaders attended the DREAM BIG MASS MEETING: Looking Forward to the Next 50 Years of Civil Rights. Attendees heard from AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, and were welcomed by Atlanta Mayor, Kasim Reed. Mayor Reed discussed the critical role Labor plays in making sure all workers are treated fairly, and also holding elected officials accountable. The session also reflected on a difficult year for the civil rights community and the charge toward progress in 2015.

On Friday, January 16th, AFSA participated in the TOWN HALL: Setting the Economic Agenda for Women in the Workplace session. Women make up half of the workforce, and also serve as breadwinners, caregivers, mothers and guardians. However, women’s issues often are seen as secondary or separate from a progressive economic agenda. The panelists led a robust discussion on the importance of policy, organizing, training and leadership development that is focused on women and the working families’ agenda, and how individual unions can lead campaigns in these areas.

The panelists included:

Moderator: Connie Leak, President, Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)

Elizabeth Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO

Erica Thomas, Georgia House of Representatives-Elect

Sonya Underwood, Board Member, 9to5 Atlanta

Teresa C. Younger, CEO and President, Ms. Foundation