The Women’s and Fair Practices Departments’ 2019 Diversity Week of events was a huge success with record attendance of over 800 attendees at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana.
National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices Jeremy A. Lannan kicked off the week by telling participants at the AFGE Y.O.U.N.G. Training Summit that “it’s [their] time” and that AFGE has to be a ‘Stay Ready’ union.
“Under this administration’s attacks on collective bargaining rights and official time, we have to stand together and support each other so that we can take our democracy back,” NVP Lannan said.
The exciting and rejuvenating Y.O.U.N.G. AFGE Training Summit saw over 150 young union activists and mentors sharing knowledge and building a community that will go back to their locals and their areas better prepared to face the challenges confronting AFGE, the labor movement, and this country.
This event featured workshops that were presented by members of AFGE’s National Y.O.U.N.G. Committee with topics such as workplace bullying, how to run for office, representation, and intentional inclusion, just to name a few. The committee made sure to include community service as a part of the work done in New Orleans by spearheading an impressive back to school drive and serving food to the homeless.
Notable in the speaker line-up this year was Tiffany Loftin, national director of the Youth and College Division of the NAACP, who delivered a message that urged participants to “protect and demand democracy,” “remember the theory of change,” and “don’t forget to breathe”.
The last day of the summit was dedicated to strategic planning where the participants discussed strategies to meet the challenges that they and AFGE will face.
Human Rights Training
AFGE’s Human Rights Training Conference has always been the premier event for AFGE union leaders and activists leading the fight for civil, human, women and workers’ rights. This event continues to offer plenty of networking opportunities and invaluable content in the areas of diversity, inclusion, workers’ rights, discrimination and union building/solidarity training.
There were also invaluable interactions within the Human Rights Training exhibit hall which allowed for additional networking and partnership opportunities for both sponsors and attendees. The National Human Rights Committee unveiled a great deal of thought-provoking efforts with the “I Too Have A Story” (#I2HAS) campaign, domestic violence initiative, uplifting of female veterans, helping hands toiletry community service project, and recognition for the Women’s and Fair Practices Coordinators who do the work of WFP in their locals or councils.
Race for Unity
In addition to the stellar training classes, the spontaneous networking opportunities, outstanding community service projects, informative AFGE E-dues demonstration, and rousing “Stay Ready” rally in the pouring rain, the special ingredient at this year's conference was the “Race for Unity” general session.
After a stirring speech from our featured speaker, Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the results of the WFP Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) survey were revealed and discussed. Participants were asked to “imagine” scenarios that our members may face in their communities every day and how they would feel if they were in their place. For instance, “imagine everyone was lining up to march in a rally…now imagine you are a person in a wheelchair.”
Participants were asked to discuss several challenging questions at their tables geared toward understanding their fellow union members, understanding the privileges that we all have, and giving suggestions on how we can be a more united union. The participation was outstanding, and a report will be provided to the membership to include the input as the departments move forward and continue the “race for unity.”
Between the record-setting attendance, the launch of the “Race for Unity” initiative, the motivating keynote speakers and supportive network of sponsors, the 2019 Diversity Week was one for the history books. Save the Date for the next Diversity Week training in August of 2020!
Hear from 2019 Diversity Week attendees
Attendees loved what they saw and experienced. Here’s what they told the unity and inclusion survey:
“I’ve never felt so connected to a group of people with a common cause. I really was able to be myself.”
“It was my first time, and I enjoyed everything. The knowledge and information that was provided was outstanding. I hope to share as much as I can with my local.”
Check out the videos and information launched at this year’s training:
Check out photos from the 2019 Diversity Week of events!
Have photos that you want to add to the photo album? Please send them to [email protected]!