Faith Evans Opens up Annual MLK LA Labor Breakfast 

01/20/2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Contact: Gabriella Landeros, 323-406-3270, gabriella@thelafed.org

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO held its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Labor Breakfast that drew in a crowd of over 1,000 community leaders, labor leaders, and elected officials. Multi-platinum Grammy Award winning recording artist Faith Evans opened up the event with nearly 100 Members from the West Angeles Church of God in Christ Mass Choir.

Rusty Hicks, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, introduced this year’s keynote speaker, Vanita Gupta. As President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Vanita Gupta is carrying on the groundbreaking work she did under President Obama as head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. The growing breadth of Civil Rights in 2018 honors what Dr. King achieved, and it was the theme of this year’s Breakfast.

“In 2018, we won’t let a Supreme Court case like Janus tell us we can’t have a voice on the job. We’ll train more organizers to preserve a worker’s fundamental right to form a union. We won’t sit quietly by while Republicans in Congress take away our healthcare and give more tax breaks to the rich. We’ll help more union members to run for public office, take back the House in 2018, and send every last anti-worker Republican home for good,” said Rusty Hicks, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “We won’t let Trump’s midnight tweets of racism and misogyny take us back to our Nation’s darkest days. We’ll lock arms with our allies to stamp out evil wherever it may be – on the job, in our community, and especially Washington D.C.”

“It was an honor to join the LA County Federation of Labor for their celebration of Dr. King’s legacy. The Leadership Conference has its roots in the labor movement, and we are keenly aware that workers’ rights are civil and human rights. Workers’ rights are about the fight for good and fair jobs that pay a decent wage – jobs that you can raise a family on. The fight for safe housing, economic security, quality education, and strong, healthy communities. These are the building blocks of the American dream. That is why we will stand together with our brothers and sisters in the labor movement, and fight together – for fairness, for inclusion, for justice: on the streets, on the job, in the courts, and in the press,” said Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Juana Melara, TIME’s Person of the Year and a worker delegation of three women (Danielle Jones, Emma Worthington, and Lori Condinus), introduced Maria Elena Durazo, General Vice President of UNITE HERE.

“Like most housekeepers, I have been harassed by male guests more times than I can count. Men have exposed themselves to me, put their hands on me and asked me to perform sexual acts on them. I am here today because I refused to take it. I fought back. I want women to know that they are not alone. Together we can stop the abuse,” said Juana Melara, Long Beach hotel housekeeper and member of UNITE HERE Local 11.

“I think Dr. King would be pleased that today’s civil rights movement has grown. Grown to defend Muslims targeted by Donald Trump’s travel ban, to defend the Dreamers that Trump continues to threaten, to defend transgender soldiers that Trump wants to reject, to defend women that Trump sexually harassed and assaulted, and janitors and housekeepers. Dr. King said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ And today’s celebration of his life, his legacy, his movement celebrates how far we’ve come to include… all of us,” said Maria Elena Durazo, General Vice President of UNITE HERE.

United States Senator Kamala D. Harris also shared a video message with the audience.

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