The IAMAW Human Rights conference was held October 8-11 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The gathering included about 400 activists from across North America. Every major Human Rights constituency from the house of Labor was represented by their leadership, and Council FIRE was proud to be included. All of these organizations are devoted to the mission of education, healthcare, dignity and decent jobs for all people, regardless of race, religion, sex or anything else. Every person is deserving of dignity and justice.
Kevin Cummings, President and Founder of the Council for First Inhabitants Rights and Equality (Council FIRE), presented to the general session and unveiled a video outlining the mission of Council FIRE. Cummings also participated in a panel discussion with the dignitaries shown in the above picture. “It was a great honor to be asked to share the stage with such passionate, caring and strong leaders, said Cummings, “I was humbled to be included, and extremely energized to feel the compassion and support that they openly showed for the issues of Native communities”.
The reception to Council FIRE was exceptional. The attendees repeatedly showed their support for including Council FIRE with their applause, tears and commitment to support and educate in their communities. Brochures, applications for membership, and issue papers were flying off the display table, and the energy to make a difference was evident from everyone in attendance. Native people have been left out of the conversation for too long, and this conference lifted the awareness of good people, and will help include Native issues into the work the activists are already doing.
“I am so proud of the IAM for taking the lead on this, and presenting Council FIRE as an equal in this forum. General Vice President Babineaux and her team could not have been more wonderful to us, following the example set by GVP’s Martinez and Allen who have been supporters from the beginning years of our organization,” said Cummings.
GVP Dave Ritchie, of Canada, later addressed the full assembly and choked back tears as he shared his outrage at the treatment of Native people in “both our countries. Native people have been treated shamefully in the US, and Canada has done no better. It makes me angry to see that video and think that we have done so little to help. It’s time to do something about it!” The crowd repeatedly roared its approval as speaker after speaker referenced Council FIRE and called for activists everywhere to include Native issues in their forums.
This was a wonderful event, and a solid lift for Council FIRE into the consciousness of Human Rights activists across North America. The future just keeps looking brighter.
Please support the other Human Rights constituency groups. Visit their websites, join their organizations, and champion the causes of all people who are being left behind.
Asian Pacific-American Labor Alliance (APALA)
A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI)
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU)
Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP)
Pride at Work (Pride@Work)
Founder and President of Council FIRE