The United Workers understands that to build a strong movement for human rights and an end to poverty requires at its foundation the development of powerful leaders. As we near our big 10th Year Anniversary Celebration on December 1, we will be publishing a series of blog posts from United Workers leaders, with their stories of personal transformation and memories of important moments in United Workers’ past. The 10th Anniversary Celebration will take place on Saturday, December 1, 3-6pm at James McHenry Recreation Center (911 Hollins Street, Baltimore, MD 21223). To purchase tickets email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://unitedworkers10th.eventbrite.com/#
By Doreen Hicks
I started with the United Workers in 2007. I worked down at the Camden Yards stadium after they had won the campaign for a living wage. I was invited to an event and it was fun, so I started getting involved. I’m a participatory kind of a person, so whenever they had an event I would help with whatever needed to get done. I like the United Workers message. I love the people. I like the type of work that’s being done and the fact that you gotta fight for it. I like to fight for a good cause.
My most memorable moment at United Workers was when I played Harriet Tubman as a puppet for Our Harbor Day in May 2010 (see image). Our goal was to inform people that they need to rise up and do something about the issues affecting them and their city. We know education is being railroaded into jail cells, industry is being taken out of Maryland, and that the city has replaced factory jobs and solid careers with seasonal jobs and poverty wages. Our money is being used in ways that we don’t even know. All of these atrocities are coming our way and we don’t even realize that we need to stand up for ourselves. We need to fight for our rights, our human rights, our dignity, our respect, our education, our jobs, and our living wages. We need to fight for those things, and that’s what United Workers is doing.
That was our point on Our Harbor Day. We held four different plays about different issues across the city, and the final play was about Harriet Tubman. In the play she told everyone that we were all leaders. But she wasn’t the leader of the march, the people that worked at the Inner harbor were. They led, next came Harriet Tubman, and everyone else was behind us, and we marched from City Hall to the Inner Harbor.
I’ll remember that day for the rest of my life. Harriet Tubman is an important symbol and the work that she did was so immense. I felt honored to be chosen to represent her. But the puppet was so huge it took a while to figure out how the heck I was going to wear the costume. Plus, with the heat of the day, it was 100 degrees in that thing, and at the end of the march I got dizzy and disoriented, and somebody else had to take over for me. But the experience was amazing.
Other people should get involved with United Workers, because it’s a great organization. It benefits a lot of people, because United Workers’ struggles cross boarders and encompass all races, all genders, and all creeds. In spite of the hard work; in spite of the blood, sweat, and tears, it’s all worth it. It’s for the people.