In August 2022 AFSCME Local 88 selected 2 individuals to attend the Pride at Work 2022 Quadrennial Convention in Minneapolis Minnesota. Shelley Ashford and I were fortunate to attend this event. Having family, friends, members and co-workers who identify as LGBTQIA+ I took this opportunity to further educate myself on increasing awareness and becoming a stronger ally not only for our Union Siblings but to the greater community at large.
Besides the general convention business there were numerous workshops to attend. I attended workshops that focused on Creating Effective Messaging for TV & Radio News Coverage and Political Polarization, the Threat to Democracies, and What We Can Do About it.
When I attended the convention, I didn’t have a deep understanding about the mission of Pride at Work or how great of an impact that the organization holds with representation of other marginalized communities. Attending allowed me to build a deeper understanding of the impacts to individuals who identify as LGBTQIA, BIPOC as well as Women within the workplace, as well as day-to-day obstacles that are placed as barriers to promote opportunities for success.
Sara Nelson, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President held a very impactful speaking segment during the convention. While I was listening to her speak it made me want to do more, it made me want to grow and push further to work with Members and Community Partners as an Executive Leader within AFSCME. At the end of the speaking segment Sara identified several organizations and opportunities available to assist in. One of the opportunities was a Train the Trainer scholarship opportunity. At the end of the day when I returned to the hotel and reflected on the day, I took the opportunity to look into the Be More than a Bystander Scholarship Program.
The program focuses on addressing gender-based bullying, harassment and violence as well as content on other forms of bias, discrimination and hate—including colonization, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and more. The 3-day intensive training engages allies to take ownership and play an active role in ending bullying, harassment and violence. Participants learn effective intervention strategies to model in their organizations and are then tasked with sharing what they have learned with other colleagues. The program is geared towards people who identify as men who are industry leaders representing employers, contractors, unions, trades training providers or other trades related organizations. I plan on using the tools for this training to assist with the functions of the local, as well as my daily interactions as an employee with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
The most important thing that I took away from the Pride at Work convention is that I have the power to use my voice and stand up for our siblings who are further oppressed based on any marginalized identifiers. I want to challenge anyone out there with the ability to promote change to step out of your comfort zone and use your privilege to continue and provide support, assistance to effect change.
For more information on how to become involved with Pride at Work, visit www.prideatwork.org
AFSCME Local 88