Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth “Liz” Powell Honored with Shirley Chisholm Breakthrough Leader Award

August 6, 2020

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On July 30, Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth “Liz” Powell was honored with the 2020 Shirley Chisholm Breakthrough Leader Award, named after the “unbought and unbossed” 1972 presidential candidate. The award was presented as part of The Summit for Civil Rights, an annual convening of civil rights leaders across labor, government, academia, faith and law to, “respond to the powerful and dangerous intersection of enduring racial disparities, widening economic inequality, and rising political polarization throughout our entire society.”

Secretary-Treasurer Powell was honored alongside fellow recipient Davida Russell, President of the Northeast Ohio District of the Ohio Association of Public-School Employees, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who received the James E. Clyburn "Vaults of Opportunity" award. 

The Summit honored Secretary-Treasurer Powell for her work as “a trailblazer, a mentor and a powerful role model and ally for all working women and men fighting to break through the barricades of gender, race and class that have too long walled off opportunity in America.” 

“As we continue that struggle there can be no doubt that it is the achievements of Congresswoman Chisholm and all those who came before us that allow us to be here this evening,” said Secretary-Treasurer Powell in her acceptance speech. “We are here this evening to continue to stand up for what we believe in.”

“We have to continue the struggle for economic and social justice and for civil and human rights, while bonding together to protect our legacy, so that our youth can have a future,” Powell continued.

President Dimondstein Joins Panel at The Summit for Civil Rights

On July 31, also as part of The Summit for Civil Rights, President Dimondstein joined a panel, titled “Who’s Profiting?,” to discuss how business interests and privatizers use racial discrimination and segregation as a tool for profit-making. President Dimondstein joined the panel along with featured speaker Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, assistant professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University, and Prentiss Dantzler, Assistant Professor in the Urban Studies Institute at Georgia State University. The panel was moderated by University of Kentucky School of Education Dean Julian Vasquez Heilig.

In his remarks, President Dimondstein discussed how the diverse workforce and strong unions in the public sector are obstacles for Wall Street in their attempts to privatize public services. “If the Post Office was to be privatized, unions would be broken, good jobs would be gone, equal pay for equal work would be gone, and dignified retirement would be gone, so that a few companies could make huge profits,” President Dimondstein said. “The people would lose the ‘small d’ democratic right of postal services, no matter who we are or where we live.”

President Dimondstein also discussed the importance of the alliance between labor and civil rights movement in the common struggle against privatization and profiteers. “We work in four walls of a workplace but we go home to our communities. Only united will we be able to move forward,” President Dimondstein said. “Those who want to destroy unions and opportunities from workers of color want to keep [the civil rights and labor movements] separated from each other.”

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