CWA's First Joint Human Rights Conference-Bonding Over Shared Goals

As it was ending, participants in this year’s CWA Human Rights Conference—the first to combine the women's and civil rights committees—gave event organizers Chris Kennedy and Nancy Biagini standing ovations.

As it was ending, participants in this year's CWA Human Rights Conference – the first to combine the women's and civil rights committees – gave event organizers Chris Kennedy and Nancy Biagini standing ovations.

"It was a big hit," Kennedy, director of the CWA Human Rights Department, said. "Most of the comments we got were that it was the best conference CWA has ever had. And Rev. William Barber energized the crowd like nobody can."



Claude Cummings, Jr., told delegates at the 2014 CWA Joint Human Rights Conference to continue the good work of the conference at home, at their locals and affiliate organizations.


Claude Cummings Jr., Vice President of CWA District 6 and chair of the CWA executive board's diversity committee, said it was a great conference. "It was very positive and informative, very well attended. The workshops were just great and Rev. William Barber did a great job talking about us coming together to take our democracy back. All of us," Cummings said.

Over 350 CWAers attended the June 8-11 CWA Joint Human Rights Conference in Las Vegas. They listened to inspiring speakers like CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins, who spoke about what it's like being a gay man; Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, who talked about being a Latina and working in the fields; and there was the inimitable Rev. Barber, who was keynote speaker.



Rev. Barber fires up participants.


"We don't need more meetings, we need a movement," Barber told the delegates.

The conference focused on movement building, discrimination, voting rights, social justice, and the importance of working with CWA national strategic partners. Cummings said what is important is the follow up to all the good work that was done at the conference.

"Doing nothing is not an option for us," Cummings said. "My plea to the delegates was that they take the information and not keep it, but share it at their union and their partner organizations."

"Human Rights are rights that should be afforded to every human being. Today we find ourselves fighting to defend our basic rights, making it even more challenging to expand human rights. It will take a fight today, tomorrow and every day. But with the energy, commitment and passion of every one of you here today, I am confident that we will maintain and expand human rights here at home and across the globe," CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins said.



Participants discuss movement building and the importance of working with CWA national strategic partners, among other issues.


Members of the National Committee on Civil Rights and Equity and the National Women's Committee spent months putting the program together.

National Committee on Civil Rights and Equity Members are: Gloria Middleton, Local 1180; Vera Mikell, Local 2205; James Barue Wilson II, Local 3310; Diane Bailey, Local 4310; Josiah Garcia, Local 6127; Paul Castaneda, Local 7019; Frank Arce, Local 9400; Robert Barrow, AFA-CWA Local 26052; Carl Kennebrew, IUE-CWA Local 84755; Dorethea Brown-Maxey, NABET-CWA Local 54043; and Kendall Bell, CWA Local 81381.

National Women's Committee members are: Karen Cusson, Local 1400; Esther Pond, Local 3806; Grace Catania, TNG-CWA Local 34071; Virginia Anderson-Dunbar, Local 6300; Lisa Hicks, Local 7500; Pandy Allen, Local 9003; Sandra Morrow, AFA-CWA Local 29018; Vicky Hurley, IUE-CWA Local 82161; Martha Waggoner, TNG-CWA Local 31222; and Ellen Vidal, Local 1088.

For this first conference, the women's committee designed four workshops and the civil rights committee designed four others and the two committees collaborated to design a workshop on unity. Everyone wanted to ensure that women's workshops not overshadow civil rights, and vice versa. Both committees were surprised to see the synergy that was created by working together.

Other events included the roll out of the CWA app; Kennedy said several people signed up for the app and took pictures of the conference with it.