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An invitation went out in a recent SRTA Monday Update to attend a Friday night dinner put on by North Bay Jobs with Justice (NBJWJ). SRTA only recently voted to affiliate our union with NBJWJ, and I had very little idea what to expect from this event. Out of curiosity, I requested one of the tickets, and set off to see what the group was all about.
The purpose of the evening was to both raise money for the organization and to acknowledge members who have worked for, and won improved living and working conditions for north bay residents. It was clear that this event was possible because enough people believed in the group, and were willing to donate time, money, and the other resources needed to make the evening event happen - grassroots organizing at it’s best. It was also clear that NBJWJ is having an impact. One example of this was the story of the successful campaign of the The Waste & Recycling Workers of Teamsters 665 against the Ratto corporation, which ultimately led significantly better working conditions for the teamsters, but also led to Sonoma County switching to Recology, an employee owned business with a mission that is centered around serving its employees and its community.
At the event, Omar Medina was introduced to the labor community as SRTA’s pro-labor candidate for school board. Also joining us was Ever Flores, President of Healdsburg Area Teachers Association, and a possible candidate for Santa Rosa City School Board in 2020 in Trustee Area 1 (current held by Jenni Klose).
The kenote speaker was Clive Jones, LGBTQ activist and Harvey Milk’s partner who, among other things, created the Aids Quilt project. His story of perseverance and the power of community organizing to make change was inspiring and heart touching.
I left the evening having met many interesting people, including plenty of candidates running in upcoming elections, having heard many inspirational stories of how people with a common vision can make profound change, and feeling proud of SRTA for joining North Bay Jobs with Justice. Our two groups have a lot in common and I look forward to working with them in the future.
Thank to all the SRTA members and friends who joined me at this inspirational event.
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