On Saturday, February 18th in support of Black History Month, the LiUNA Africa American Canadian Caucus held its first-ever appreciation dinner. It was a fascinating evening hosted by Caucus Board members Brothers Mamadou Bah and Anthony Tubbs. Brother Hardy Jalloh from LiUNA Local 506 did a wonderful job as our informal Emcee for the evening and also told a humorous but moving story of his journey with LiUNA and the AACC.
Caucus President and Business Manager of Labourer’s District Council of Philadelphia, Brother Ryan Boyer and his spouse also joined us to celebrate the event with the rank-and-file membership of the Caucus in Central and Eastern Canada, sending well wishes and kind regards from our brothers and sisters from the United States and the LiUNA African American Caucus.
Also in attendance to show their support for the LIUNA AACC were Brother Jack Oliveira, Business Manager of both LiUNA Local 183 Manager and OPDC his Executive Board; Brother Roly Bernardini, President of LiUNA Local 506 and his Executive Board. Hon. Charmaine Williams (Brampton Centre), Member of Parliament and Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity also attended the event and Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex) sent a congratulatory video message on the Caucuses work on diversity equity and inclusion and the adoption of the LEAD campaign at LiUNA 183.
Associate Minister Williams, as the first Afro-Caribbean woman to be elected first as a city councillor in the City of Brampton and also the first woman of colour in the PC Cabinet spoke passionately about her commitment to getting more women in the trades and in particular more women of colour, as well her journey into the world of politics. There were also Leaders of community organizations, as well as a great representation of our rank-and-file members and their spouses.
Business Manage Brother Jack Oliveira gave a very moving speech on the importance of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in our great Local and his commitment to continue to do more to create equality of opportunity and experience for underrepresented groups to enter the construction trades.
There was also a beautiful presentation on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity presented by Brother Jason Ottey, Director of Government Relations and Communications for LiUNA Local 183, who ran through the Labourers for Equity and Diversity (LEAD) Campaign. LEAD was passed by the OPDC and LiUNA Local 183 is the first Local in Ontario to adopt and implement its key recommendations such as mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion training starting with the Executive Board and all business representative and sector co-ordinators employed at the Local.
Although this was the first appreciation dinner for the LiUNA AACC, it definitely won’t be the last and we look forward to celebrating the Caucus’ success with all of you next year.