MLK Labor, WSLC celebrate and honor BIPOC artists, activists, organizations
SEATTLE (Feb. 19, 2021) — The unions that comprise MLK Labor and the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO are committed to promoting racial equity within Washington’s labor movement and to building ties with other people and organizations fighting for social justice.
As part of that critically important work, the Labor of Love: Art and Healing Grant awarded money to 48 incredible Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) activists or organizations that focus on racial equity, enfranchisement and social equity-based movement building within and adjacent to our local labor movement. This grant was administered by the MLK Labor, the WSLC and the Foundation for Working Families, and is made possible by the Fight Back Collaborative Fund, a fund of the Tides Foundation.
“Labor of Love is a beautiful program that shows the labor movement’s commitment to lifting up our community. 2020 was a difficult year for all of us. Being able to work with such an incredible cohort of artists and organizers lifted our spirits and inspired us all,” said Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of MLK Labor. “MLK Labor is committed to being an anti-racist organization. Continuing the relationships we built through Labor of Love will be a central part of our work going forward.”
“Bringing love, art, and healing to the movement is an act of radical defiance that liberates us from institutionalized racism and systems of white supremacy,” said Kasi Perriera, the WSLC’s Racial and Gender Justice Director. “In addition to celebrating the Labor of Love awardees, Rigo Valdez of MLK Labor and I would also like to thank our review panel who contributed their time and expertise reviewing every nomination and application: Amy Leong (APALA), Darius Smith (SEIU 1199NW), Dulce Gutierrez (WSLC), Eunice How (UNITE HERE 8), Maria Torres (Teamsters 117), Nate Omdal (Musicians Local 76-493), Joe Solorio (UFCW 21), and Steven Yates (WFSE 28).”
The leadership of both MLK Labor and WSLC outlined clear goals in order to defend democracy and protect our communities, including multiple resolutions on Race & Labor and establishing a Racial Justice Taskforce. The affiliated unions that comprise both organizations have been very clear. They want both councils to lead Washington’s labor movement in challenging all of us — union leaders, staffers and rank-and-file members — to understand our responsibility and stake in advocating for racial and gender justice.
MLK Labor exists to unify all labor organizations in King County to build power and strength for all workers. The council fundamentally values diversity and is engaged in the fight to challenge bigotry in all forms. Currently MLK Labor is engaged in an innovative project to grow worker power and protect essential workers in Seattle and MLK County. The Presidents’ Organizing Initiative aims to holistically build power for workers by connecting with the energy of social movements to develop best practices for workplace feminism, anti-racism and climate justice.
The WSLC and MLK Labor believe that compensating movement builders and justice warriors’ that have been fighting this fight and building this movement through their artistic expression is long overdue. Our society has benefited from the work and sacrifice of these amazing activists.
We invite you to learn more about the 48 recipients of Labor of Love, featuring individuals and organizations focused on movement building in 2021 and beyond!