Introduction by Naomi Walker, Assistant to the President of AFSCME
Reverend James Lawson excerpt: “…. to make a long story short, I want to try to say that the experiment to have a democratic society is the most important experiment the human race has launched, probably ever. To lift human life to a level where we have the capacity to govern ourselves and to live with one another and to create cooperation rather than war and violence is the great frontier for the 21st century and beyond. And in that act of shaping democratic society, unions are absolutely essential.”
Jamin Raskin, Professor, American University, Washington College of Law & Maryland State Senator
Introduction by Darrin Spann, Assistant Director of AFSCME Council 13 in Pennsylvania
Opening Remarks by Professor Jamin B. Raskin: "In 2010, in the 5-4 Citizens United decision, the conservative majority on the Roberts Court broke from government 'of the people, by the people, and for the people,' and gave us a constitutional blueprint for government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations. It held that for-profit corporations have the right to spend unlimited sums—million or billions of dollars-- promoting or disparaging candidates for public office."
Saket Soni Executive Director New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and National Guestworker Alliance
Opening Remarks by Elissa McBride, Director of Education and Leadership Training, AFSCME
Opening Remarks by Elissa McBride: "Born and raised in New Delhi, India, Saket Soni has been a driving force in the effort to secure justice for workers fighting for their dignity in post-Katrina New Orleans. During the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, black workers whose families had lived in New Orleans for generations were denied jobs. At the same time, thousands of immigrant workers were given false promises of steady jobs, fair pay, great conditions and even permanent legal status...Saket Soni brought those workers together, linking their struggles across the lines of race and class and citizenship. He helped build a broad platform from which they could wage an inspiring fight for justice and dignity."
Elissa McBride Director of Education and Leadership Training, AFSCME
Opening Remarks by Elissa McBride, Director of Education and Leadership Training, AFSCME: "Like Eleanor, [Brigid] knows that we can make real change if we link education and action. I hope you will listen, learn, and leave committed to honor the legacy of Jerry Wurf and Eleanor Roosevelt by passing on the knowledge you gain here to others, so that together, we can restore the right to organize and bargain for all workers – public and private."
Paul Booth Executive Assistant to the President, AFSCME
Opening Remarks by Paul Booth, Executive Assistant to the President, AFSCME:"Miles Rapoport is the president of Demos. What is Demos? There is an awful lot of Demos material out on the table there, and you really should indulge freely in it. To me, Demos is simply the leading voice in the United States for small d democracy. Its mission, as I see it, is this cause which it so ably advances.
Miles Rapoport has a career that included personal involvement in Connecticut politics, to which he brought activism, organizational skills, and a set of real deep commitments."