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Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:06 PM

Immigrants and African-Americans Unite to Transform the Face of Labor and the Power of Community

FULL title: Charging Through the Archway of History: Immigrants and African-Americans Unite to Transform the Face of Labor and the Power of Community


Saturday, 16 February 2013 00:00 By Paul Ortiz, Truthout | Op-Ed

A budding coalition of immigrants and African-Americans - modeled on the outstanding community- and labor-organizing example of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 - is potentially the largest progressive force in America - one capable of transforming the trajectory of US history.

I was taught that justice wears a blindfold, so as not to be able to distinguish between the colors, and thus makes everyone equal in the eyes of the law. I propose we remove the blindfold from the eyes of Lady Justice, so that for the first time she can really see what's happening and check out where the truth lies and the lies hide. That would be a start. Viva the children of all colors! Punto!
- Piri Thomas, Down These Mean Streets

Francisco Martinez, 17, protests policies of President Barack Obama that have deported record numbers of Latinos, during a protest outside President Obama's campaign headquarters, at One Prudential Plaza in Chicago, August 16, 2011. (Photo: Peter Hoffman / The New York Times)

Part I: A Tale of Two Speeches

Why did President Obama travel to Las Vegas to make a speech on immigration? Las Vegas is a union town. The city is the home of one most powerful unions in the Americas, an organization built and led largely by Latina, African-American and Asian-American women who work as maids, housekeepers and food service workers on the Las Vegas Strip and beyond.

Many of the rank-and-file members of the 60,000-member Culinary Workers Union Local 226 are single mothers, and without their support Obama would not be President of the United States. The president understands this and herein lays the symbolic power of his speech, as well as the transformations in American life that it reveals. The new president of Local 226 is the brilliant organizer Geoconda Arguello-Kline. She was a picket captain during the epic Frontier Hotel Strike (1991-1998) where not a single one of the 550 hotel workers crossed the picket line. The strike "showed us all what unity and perseverance are," she recalled. Arguello-Kline originally hails from Managua, Nicaragua and is a former hotel housekeeper.

Black and white photograph of Hattie Canty marching with other women during a union strike.

FULL story at link.

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Reply Immigrants and African-Americans Unite to Transform the Face of Labor and the Power of Community (Original post)
Omaha Steve Feb 2013 OP
pampango Feb 2013 #1

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 06:14 PM

1. Excellent post, Omaha Steve. Thanks. n/t

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