WOMEN’S CAUCUS – Forward Movement: R3 (Reflect, Reset, Restart)

Valerie King, Co-Chair, Women’s Caucus

The National Women’s Caucus paid tribute to the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Co-Chair Ursula Grant, NY Local 1-2, portrays a woman suffragette at the recently unveiled statue of women’s rights pioneers Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth in Central Park.

As we close out the year that has changed us all, it is evident we have lost a lot in 2020. Our world perspectives were changed to varying degrees. Many of us experienced a feeling of sadness, uncertainty, loss, and adapted to the ever changing world that was unpredictable, and chaotic. We forged ahead to create some normalcy in our lives by reflecting on our core values as a union. Solidarity, building community partnerships, diversity, inclusion, and addressing the social unrest across the country were the key elements in rebounding.

It is moments like this that provide opportunities for retrospection, so that we can reset ourselves for the betterment of our union on all levels. Internal organizing, engaging and educating members to embrace equality, unionism, growing the union, knowing our history, milestones, and future triumphs, must be on the agenda. By doing so, we will leave a legacy for future generations of collective activism and fighting against the injustices that create divisiveness, disenfranchisement, discrimination, inequality, and the inability to provide the basic standards of living.

Restarting: it will not be easy! Especially, in the current environment! But we are the union! Union strong! Time and time again, we have shown our perseverance, and transformative approaches in working creatively to make change. Laying the foundation begins with strategizing, planning, organizing, and mobilizing! This is an ongoing process, and we cannot be complacent. As Steven Furtick said, “A dream without action, and a dream without justice is a delusion!” Sharpening our focus is imperative. If we do not plan a strategy to build a diverse pipeline of union leaders, we are planning to fail our union and members. 2021 is a year of new beginnings. Let us seize opportunities throughout our locals and nationally to reflect, reset and restart (R3).

The National Women’s Caucus “Rosie the Riveter Virtual 5K Run/Walk” was held September 19 – 26 as a solidarity fundraiser raising thousands of dollars to benefit community partners impacted by COVID-19. Local 223 Rosie’s runner, Ingrid Lee, summed up the community building experience: “We had a great time acknowledging women in the workforce while participating in this event.”