By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
DC 37’s Black History Committee kicked off the month long celebration of African American culture and contributions at an opening ceremony Monday Feb. 3 at union headquarters in lower Manhattan.
DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido welcomed dozens of members, retirees and local presidents to the annual heritage celebration with union Treasurer Maf Misbah Uddin, president of Local 1407, Secretary John Hyslop, president of Local 1321, Shaun D. Francois I, president of DC 37 and Local 372, and Associate Director Oliver Gray.
“‘Let’s be counted and our voices heard,’ is our theme with a focus on Census 2020,” said Nina Manning, secretary-treasurer of NYPL Guild Local 1930 who co-chairs the committee with Local 372’s La’Nette Murphy.
Keynote speaker Anthony Harmon, vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, told the audience: “This year 40 New York City Council seats are open and the US presidency will be decided. Census 2020 participation will determine how much funding communities get to fix overcrowded schools, roads that are in disrepair, and money for Medicaid, nursing homes, and school lunch programs,”– vital services DC 37 members provide.
“Consider Edmund Pettis Bridge. People were beaten and hosed just for trying to register to vote. We can turn the tide by electing labor-friendly candidates,” Harmon said. “Grandma picked cotton so that I can pick presidents.”