January 20, 2017
27th Annual EWMC Leadership Conference, January 2017, Anaheim, CA
I’m finalizing this report on the day that the 45th President of the United States was inaugurated; the dawn of a presidential administration that comes with great…distress.
EWMC President Keith Edwards issued a call to action for every delegate at this year’s conference: Political Action. It is up to us to hold our elected officials accountable. If they aren’t up to the task of representing #WeThePeople, we can and will prepare suitable replacements, many of whom must be Black women and other women of color.
There was a panel discussion and two workshops dedicated to empowering EWMC/IBEW members with the tools to take back to their Locals and communities through political action. The workshops were moderated by 3rd Int’l Representative Julie Cosenza.
This administration has promised to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, privatize Social Security and Medicare, establish a Muslim registry, roll back regulations and has denied climate change. We cannot allow this to happen. New Administrations has its own set of priorities. The priorities of this administration do not include Civil Rights, Healthcare, LGBTQ rights or Climate change. One of his 1st acts of president was to suspend reduction of FHA annual mortgage insurance premium rates. So much for “making America great again.” Well, I’ve got news for Trump…America, with all its flaws, is already great. EWMC and IBEW members are going to make it better. Trade Unionist Bill Fletcher gave a no holds barred speech about our responsibility as Union Leaders to fight (better) for working families by resisting the Trump presidency.
Therefore, I am answering the President Edward’s call to action by increasing calls to my Senators and House Representative, and urging my sphere of influence to do the same. By continuing to educate potential voters about civic responsibility, especially on the local level. By working with my local League of Women Voters chapter to increase voter education, voter registration and advocate for social issues from pre-k education, housing & homelessness, juvenile justice and mass incarceration to affordable health care, immigration reform and climate change.
I encourage you to join organizations that are dedicated to these issues. If your local organizations aren’t addressing issues important to you, perhaps it is because they need you at the table. These times require 100% from each of us. Let’s harness the positive energy we received at this year’s conference and turn it into increased participation in our local EWMC chapters and other constituency groups: CLUW, CBTU, APRI, PAW, LaRaza. There’s a place for all of us and there is plenty of work to do.
I became an EWMC member about 13 years ago, learning about the EWMC and leadership from Ms. Dorothy Fortier, a former EWMC National Officer and the epitome of leadership. I attended my first EWMC conference in Chicago, in 2005 and I have been actively involved ever since. I am compelled to pay forward the knowledge that Ms. Fortier instilled in me, 1st by co-founding the Solano County Chapter and then by becoming an Officer of the EWMC National Executive Committee. I proudly bear the responsibility to ensure that I lead by example, in my community and in my chapter.
EWMC chapters all over the United States and Canada are fulfilling the directive of EWMC President Emeritus Robbie Sparks by letting our work speak for us.
Tonya Alston, EWMC National Recording Secretary