Believe in “Ripple of Hope”
On June 6th, I attended a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery marking the 50th anniversary of the day Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at a Los Angeles Hotel in 1968. The late 1960s was a turbulent time in American history, and Robert Kennedy’s message of optimism and hope resonated with many Americans. We can still learn from his call to people to stand up for what they believe in and to continue to fight even when the odds seem to be against them.
As he said in his famous 1966 speech in South Africa, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
As a Union, we have ideals to stand up for and injustices to fight against. One ideal is the belief that children in this country should have the right to attend schools that are safe and are in conditions that are conducive to learning. That is why we have been fighting for investment in our school infrastructure. Sadly, as a nation we have let our school facilities deteriorate to conditions that are unacceptable. Our work on Lobby Day and every day shows our commitment to this cause (page 15).
The support we received as result of our work is a big step toward getting federal investment in improving our school infrastructure. It is the right thing for our children, our communities, and our members who will benefit from the jobs created by this important investment.
The public schools are just a part of our nation’s crumbling infrastructure that cry for urgent renovation. Many historic buildings, including a few in the nation’s capital, are in serious need of restoration. Since 2014, members of BAC Local 1 Maryland/Virginia/DC have been working inside and outside of the Cannon House Office Building to restore this century-old Congressional building to its former glory (page 3).
In New York City, the ongoing “Count Me In” movement is another great example of the labor movement striking out against injustice and fighting to improve the lot of others (page 6). We are standing strong with our brothers and sisters in the New York City Building Trades unions to win dignity in the workplace. Union jobs provide hardworking people with a decent quality of life. The movement is about fair pay, safe workplaces, good healthcare and a secure retirement. We are proud to be a part of the effort.
The message Kennedy sent then remains relevant today. There is no shortcut to success in the labor movement. Brothers and Sisters, we must make efforts to continue our fight for working people’ rights and support each other, because when each one of us is determined to “send forth a tiny ripple of hope,” we can achieve our goals together.