About 200 CWA Next Generation activists (CWAers younger than age 35) are meeting in Pittsburgh for Summit 2014, focusing on movement building, organizing for power, social media and other topics.
CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins said "many organizations are counting on the Next Generation to continue the fight, just as they're counting on experienced, seasoned people to embrace, teach and engage younger workers in our fights."
Collins recalled the Freedom Summer of 50 years ago, which brought a thousand young volunteers to Mississippi to continue the work of helping African Americans register to vote. Over the 10-week project, 1,062 people were arrested; 80 Freedom Summer workers were beaten; 37 churches were bombed or burned; 30 Black homes or businesses were bombed or burned; and four civil rights workers were killed, one in a head-on collision, and the other three murdered because of their support for the civil rights movement, he said.
CWA Next Gen activists attending the summit in Pittsburgh join the fight for fairness for workers at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center facilities.
Today, Collins noted, there is voter suppression across this country. "We need to be in the streets by the tens of thousands," he said. Next Gen activists are a critical part "of the way back to economic justice and democracy" in our country, he said.
In Pittsburgh, participants joined a kickoff mobilization for 2015 Verizon East and Mid-Atlantic bargaining, and also participated in a protest supporting janitors and other workers at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center facilities.
Other speakers included CWA Secretary-Treasurer Annie Hill; former Maryland Delegate and Democratic candidate for governor Heather Mizeur; Phillip Agnew, executive director of the Dream Defenders; and Mike Vivirito, president of CWA's Retired Members Council, who talked about mentoring and helping young leaders. Also attending the summit were CWA Vice Presidents Laura Reynolds, D9, and Jim Joyce, NABET-CWA.
Next Gen Lead Activists are: Victoria Fisher, Local 1037; John Gorant, Local 13000; Idelisa Pino, Local 3104; Kelli Williams, Local 4004; Arnise Porter, Local 6201; Alanna Galloway, Local 7250; Eric Lindberg, Local 9423; Krystle Cook, Alaska Airlines Council 19, AFA-CWA; Richard Shorter, IUE-CWA Local 82162; Darren Ramos, NABET-CWA Local 51017; and Beth Krammer, TNG-CWA Local 34071.