Townhall meeting brings together labor and community organizers

Just before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was working to strengthen ties between the civil rights movement and the fight for economic justice. Bread & Roses Community Fund honored this legacy by hosting a town hall meeting in January to highlight successful community-labor partnerships in our region.
“Too often we categorize ourselves as separate from each other—union and community,” Andi Perez, executive director
of Youth United for Change, says. “It is up to us to build a unified movement to improve the quality of life in our communities.
Earlier this year, Youth United for Change decided to work with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to offer a community-based plan for improving public schools. Through this collaboration, which includes additional founding members
Action United and Philadelphia Student Union, the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools was born.
The town hall meeting highlighted this joint venture and provided a history of past community-labor partnerships. After the panel, participants broke into small groups to generate more ideas for alliances that could help make the region a better place
for everyone.
As one attendee reported in a follow-up survey, “It’s crucial that labor and community groups find common ground, but that doesn’t always happen automatically. We must get organized and
work together.”
To learn more about the ideas that emerged from these discussions and see more pictures from the event, visit
www.breadrosesfund.org.
Liz McElroy (right), secretary-treasurer of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, joins a group discussion after delivering the keynote address. Photo: Harvey Finkle

Liz McElroy (right), secretary-treasurer of the
Philadelphia AFL-CIO, joins a group discussion
after delivering the keynote address. Photo: Harvey Finkle

Tim Finucan of SEIU 32BJ, Evette Jones of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and Andi Perez of Youth United for Change discuss obstacles they overcame to work together. Photo: Harvey Finkle

Tim Finucan of SEIU 32BJ, Evette Jones of the
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and Andi
Perez of Youth United for Change discuss
obstacles they overcame to work together. Photo: Harvey Finkle

Bread & Roses board member Chris Rabb (left) speaks with attendee after moderating a panel. Photo: Harvey Finkle

Bread & Roses board member Chris Rabb (left)
speaks with attendee after moderating a panel. Photo: Harvey Finkle

Volunteer facilitators lead small group discussions. Photo: Harvey Finkle

Volunteer facilitators lead small group discussions. Photo: Harvey Finkle