Remembering Heroes of Labor and Civil Rights

 Remembering Heroes of Labor and Civil Rights

 AFSA sponsors the International Labor Hall of Fame’s Induction of Liuzzo, Clemenc and Dubrow

NEW YORK—Trailblazer activists Viola Liuzzo, Annie Clemenc, and Evelyn Dubrow,  who dedicated themselves to bettering the lives of others, will be posthumously honored and inducted into the International Labor Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 16, in an event marking the organization’s 40th year of inductees.

“These women are a crucial part of labor movement’s history and it is important for us to support and recognize the power of their actions and bravery,” said Diann Woodard, president of American Federation School of Administrators (AFSA), AFL-CIO and sponsor of the Hall of Fame’s induction event. “They had a mission to make a difference and allowed nothing to stand in their way.”

After watching the events of  “Bloody Sunday” unravel on television March 7, 1965, where police officers in Alabama bombarded a group of peaceful civil rights activists marching from Selma to Montgomery with clubs and tear gas, Liuzzo was inspired to travel to Alabama and take action.

“While others might have been compelled to avoid these marches after witnessing such violence, Liuzzo got out there and marched,” said Woodard.

Liuzzo was shot to death at the age of 39 just weeks later on March 25 by members of the Klu Klux Klan as she drove fellow civil rights supporters home after a march for African American voting rights.

Since its start in 1973, the International Labor Hall of Fame has inducted more than 100 people and groups, recognizing labor’s greatest advocates, supporters and activists. Last year’s ceremony inducted as a collective group the more than 600 union members killed in the September 11 attacks on New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

“Primarily, we want to make sure we keep labor heroes up in front and help people to understand our history,” said Shawn Ellis, Hall of Fame’s Labor Co-Chair. “To support us (labor), it’s important for people to understand us and where we come from.”

“Big Annie” Clemenc, a lifelong advocate for miners’ rights was a key figure during the 1913 strikes, which protested the treatment of mine workers on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan. Clemenc marched daily, faced arrest and jail twice, and founded the Women’s Auxiliary No. 15 of the Western Federation of Miners.

Evelyn “Evy” Dubrow, a legendary lobbyist for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union was known for visiting up to 30 Senators in one day and fighting tirelessly throughout her life for labor, civil rights, feminist and social issues. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999 for her work and was well loved by both sides of the aisle, famously saying in a 1997 Washingtonian magazine article: “In Washington you should never write off anybody. You’ll be surprised where tomorrow’s allies come from.”

“These women are an inspiration and their actions are a reminder of what the labor movement is truly about,” said Woodard.

The induction event will be hosted by the past President of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, Jay Mazur, and will be held at the UNITE HERE headquarters in New York City. Other sponsors of this year’s event include the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Auto Workers.

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About AFSA:

The American Federation of School Administrators is the exclusive union for administrators, professionals and supervisors advocating for excellence and equity in all of our schools, workplaces and communities. AFSA members are leaders in their schools and communities and are charged with the privilege and responsibility of helping to mold our nation’s students into successful, mindful individuals. As school leaders, AFSA members are constantly advocating for better public schools and systems of education. AFSA members are active in the labor movement and proudly stand in solidarity with all trade unionists and school administrators.

Check out the PDF version here: Labor Hall of Fame