CWA Minority Leadership Institute Graduates Mark 40th Anniversary
Leaders from across CWA recently graduated from the 2023 CWA Minority Leadership Institute (MLI). This year marked the 40th anniversary of MLI, which aims to promote the involvement of members of color and women at all levels of the union. Both CWA President Claude Cummings Jr. and Staff Representative Ruth Marriott were alumni of the inaugural 1983 class.
The CWA Minority Caucus, which advocates for greater education and training opportunities for underrepresented members, was one of the early supporters of the program. Current Minority Caucus President Maurice Washington presented a comprehensive workshop on the history of the Minority Caucus and the history of MLI. Director of Human Rights, Education and Health & Safety, Angie Wells, said, “On this 40th Anniversary of MLI, we are so appreciative of the unyielding support of the Minority Caucus.”
This year, twelve CWA leaders, one from each District and Sector, participated in a week-long program to enhance their skills in public speaking, organizing, mobilizing, collective bargaining, legislative advocacy, and building solidarity.
Participants discussed values, combating discrimination and harassment, and organizing coalitions while practicing skills and sharing experiences.
CWA staff, instructors from the University of Iowa Labor Center, and other guest speakers conducted training sessions throughout the week. IUE-CWA President Carl Kennebrew gave remarks at the opening dinner and President Cummings conducted an in-person session on union activism with the participants.
Later in the week, CWA Chief of Staff Sylvia J. Ramos hosted a Leadership Forum with the class and attended the graduation ceremony.
Secretary-Treasurer Ameenah Salaam led a panel on Strategies for Developing Leadership. The panel consisted of Executive Board Diversity Committee Chair Kennebrew, along with CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton, CWA District 9 Vice President Frank Arce, CWA Telecommunications and Technologies Vice President Lisa Bolton, and At-Large Board Members Vera Mikell, Erika White, and Keith Gibbs.
Throughout the week, past MLI graduates guided discussions with the class about the impact MLI had on their careers, inspiring participants to pursue more leadership opportunities within the union and beyond.
When asked to summarize his time at the MLI, Ra’Amon Ta’Neter, President of CWA Local 3907, replied, "That's impossible. There's no quick way to summarize my MLI experience, but it was amazing!"
Twelve CWA leaders participated in this year’s week-long Minority Leadership Institute program to enhance their skills in public speaking, organizing, mobilizing, collective bargaining, legislative advocacy, and building solidarity.
This post originally appeared on cwa-union.org.