UAW Local 14 Celebrates the Legacy of Dr. King

State Sen. Paula Hicks Hudson and event volunteers (NAACP Youth Council of Toledo)

By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter

UAW Local 14 honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, during the local’s 15th annual celebration on Saturday, January 27.

The speakers and presenters all reflected on the importance of unions in the area of civil rights and that Dr. King’s call for equality isn’t over. Andrew Kinsey served as the program master of ceremonies and opened the celebration, followed by the University of Toledo’s Color Guard presenting the flag, Pastor Jon Michael Talbert delivered the invocation, and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown delivered pre-recorded remarks.

“Thank you for organizing this event,” began Senator Brown, who has represented the state of Ohio since 2006. “The UAW understands workers rights are human rights.”

Toledo’s own MLK Academy for Boys, named in honor of Dr. King Jr., delivered a special presentation. The presentation began with remarks from the school’s principal and community advocate Willie Ward, EdD, with support provided by Sheila Cook, the school’s Community/Family Resource & Outreach Representative. Two exceptional students, Josiah Ridley and Dylan Savage, recited the school’s mission and received a standing ovation from the audience.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants, while trying to instill the morals of Dr. King into these boys,” began Ward, MLK Academy for Boys principal. “Our school draws boys from all over Toledo and I invite you to learn more about this academy.”

UAW Local 14 President Tony Totty introduced Marcy Kaptur, US Representative, who delivered remarks. Willie Hall introduced Larry Robinson, the International UAW Civil and Human Rights Department leader, who also delivered remarks.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” began Kaptur. “Thank you for the invitation, we know that UAW does the work.”

Jamele Walker presented a spoken word. Brian Van Pelt delivered the introduction of the keynote speaker, André Washington. Washington began his labor career at the University of Michigan Medical Center, and was eventually hired as a community organizer for AFSCME Council 25 in Detroit. He has remained in the labor organizing, advocacy and union space ever since. He current serves as the Midwest Regional Representative and Ohio State President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute overseeing 10 states.

“Time to move from position to purpose,” began Washington. “It’s in your DNA. What do you do with that position, when you move from position to purpose? You bring influence to purpose to purpose. Remember all of Dr. King’s the work, he was assassinated at a young age. He moved from position to purpose in the civil rights movement. The UAW doesn’t run away from a fight, they run towards a fight.”