Building One Ohio Labor/Civil Rights Forum

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Restoring the Historic and Powerful Alliance

of Labor and Civil Rights

for Racial Justice

and Economic Opportunity

Friday, May 6, 2016 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Cleveland State University, Wolstein Center

2000 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio

Legendary labor leader A. Philip Randolph and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. repeatedly told their supporters that the political forces attacking unions were the same ones who opposed civil rights. It’s no different today as the people fighting worker rights are the same ones who resist inclusive schools and maintain segregated neighborhoods.

The attack on public sector workers and teachers, especially in poor minority communities, is only the most recent example. The sprawl-driven, big-box retail industry in outer suburbs remains low wage and deeply anti-union. Public spending for badly needed infrastructure is severely restrained, undermining local government and depressing what should be an expansion of inclusive building trade jobs.

A shrinking middle class, widening income gap, and deepening racial divide further limits social mobility and middle class opportunity for all people - especially the unemployed, underemployed and those trapped in high poverty neighborhoods in cities and in suburbs.

This non-partisan forum will educate members, allies, and the public about the mutually reinforcing power relationship that once existed between labor and civil rights – an alliance that produced some the most progressive policies and inclusive expansion of middle class jobs that our nation ever experienced. 

It will show the relevance of this coalition for today’s challenges and it will call upon our congregations, unions, civic and civil rights groups to work together to restore and revive this alliance to advance and promote both racial justice and economic opportunity for all American workers, their families and communities. 

During the forum there will there will be a special tribute to Robert Richardson, Vice President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and recently elected President of the Cincinnati NAACP.

We will also recognize the work and celebrate the life of Mayor Rich Bonde, a dedicated and steadfast friend and leader of Building One Ohio and a courageous champion of social justice.