Yesterday, I returned from an annual conference to which I was invited to attend as a delegate from our Local. The Electrical Workers Minority Caucus works throughout the year, through local chapters around the country, to inform the IBEW membership about the goals and achievements of our union. The chapter that Local 26 has set up is called the “Minority Coalition”, and it was through this chapter that I had the privilege to be a delegate.
I was amazed at the amount of familiar faces that I saw, mostly from the Women’s Conference last year. Additionally, I met my talented brothers and sisters from across the country, ranging from LA to Houston to Long Island, and of course NY. I saw people young and old, apprentices, journeymen and retired members who have remained active. I saw the type of diversity amongst our faces that I dream one day will represent the IBEW on a full scale.
Personally, I made new friends from across our lands who have similar objectives for the well-being of our Union. I have found hundreds of individuals who have different answers, opinions and perspectives that have helped me in my personal struggle and goals. There is a cohesion that exists through a tapestry of wisdom and skills that I feel many of our Local’s members don’t even know about.
I am also excited to announce that there is a strong effort to promote the cause of our Young Workers in the IBEW. Over the last few months, a few of us at Local 26 have been working on the formation of ARC-DC, Apprentices Reaching our Community. We have learned a great deal about our organization on a grander scale, and have faced challenges and hurdles that are not unique to us alone. If I learned anything from these conferences it is that we are not alone. There is a growing wave of support that exists from the AFL-CIO down through our IBEW and regionally that tells me that solutions can be shared and we can learn from the many successes of our brothers and sisters everywhere.
I am honored to have been a part of something larger than myself. I hope to bring a sense of urgency and pride back to my brethren and share in the insights that have inspired me.