Panelists speak on 'Making HERstory: Sisters of the Next Generation' panel. L-R: Nyssa Silva, Associate Director of High School Organizing for March for Our Lives, Las Vegas, NV; Katy Martinez, High School Student and Daughter of Culinary Union Members with Temporary Protective Status; Cassandra Charles, Field Organizing Specialist for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Panel moderator Sabrina Larsen, REC Coordinator for Salt Lake Area APWU not shown.
A highlight of the 2019 CLUW Convention were the three diverse and enlightening panels held over the three days of Convention plenary sessions. Kicking off the panels was ‘Making HERstory: Sisters of the Next Generation’ which consisted of highly impressive young activists fighting for change in the areas of reproductive rights, immigration, and gun safety. All of the panelists were either in high school or college and were able to teach the audience important lessons about finding your voice, the power of mentoring, and believing in your own ability even in the face of other’s doubt. Attendee and Co-chair of CLUW’s Young Workers Caucus, Teresa-Marie Oller (APWU), found the panel to be ‘absolutely amazing’ and noted it was much needed to see women of all ages doing work which aligns with CLUW’s mission.
The next day another group of activists, this time teachers from across the county, joined together on the inspiring ‘Teacher Power Rising’ panel. The panelists, including AFT and NEA union members and leaders from Western Virginia, Los Angeles, and Arizona, described what could be learned from the successes and hardships of recent teacher actions in their respective areas. Panelist Arlene Inouye, a speech therapist and Secretary Bargaining Chair for UTLA (United Teachers Los Angeles), spoke on how shifting the union from a ‘service union to an organizing union’ and bringing ‘common-good demands’ which benefit parents and students, not just teachers, to the bargaining table was crucial in getting the whole community involved in their fight and ultimate victory. Attendee Kathy Black (AFSCME) noted that the ‘Teachers' panel was informative, inspiring, very timely.’
Another timely panel, held on the last day of the convention, focused on building community and labor alliances to create stronger and more powerful networks leading into the 2020 election. Each of the panelists do vital organizing work in Nevada, either through their union or through groups like the National Organization for Women (NOW) or League of Women Voters, which has helped lead Nevada to becoming the first state to achieve a female majority state legislature. Panelist Gloria Caoile, Founding Member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), spoke on how ‘there is something we all can contribute that will make life better for all of us and our children’ and ultimately each of us individually putting in what we can is really what creates collective power.
Cheryl Teare (far left), AFT Special Assistant to the President, moderates 'Teacher Power Rising' panel. Panelists include (L-R): Arlene Inouye, Secretary and Bargaining Chair of UTLA and Speech Therapist; Pamela Huff, AFT Arizona Member; Brittany Dolly and Amber Brown, Members of AFT-Kanawha Local 444 West Virginia.
In Our Hands We Hold the Power' panel. (L-R) Moderator Nakisha M. Lewis, Civil and Human Rights Director for AFL-CIO; Gloria Caoile, APALA Founding Member; Sandra Cosgrove, President of the League of Women Voters, Nevada; Jeri Burton President Nevada National Organization for Women.