NAACP President Derrick Johnson tells delegates “Stay laser-focused so the right does not divide progressive allies”
First, NAACP President Derrick Johnson explained that there definitely is a connection between civil rights and labor. As a matter of fact, they are natural allies.
And two, just as with other progressive coalitions and allies, we must stay sharply focused on the next five years to turn the tide on the attacks from the right.
“We cannot have a house divided,” Johnson said, speaking at the 2018 UAW Community Action Program (CAP) Conference on Wednesday. “Those forces can only be successful in dividing the house.”
Over the next five years, the country faces a census count, more elections and possible redistricting across the nation, which could mean dire consequences for needed funds in poor communities and how we define the nation and our values.
Johnson, from Detroit, talked about how allies in Detroit such as government and unions made sure that labor had a seat at the table. When that happened, a teachers’ strike ended when other unions stepped up and teachers won. Johnson, who now lives in Mississippi, has been a solid ally for the UAW and workers at Nissan, who were trying to form their own union.
“What is at stake is our democracy,” he said. “They need you to slip so they can take us out.”
When he asked the audience if they knew what that meant, the heads shaking, applauding and cheers indicated that they did.
“We have to focus,” Johnson said. “We can only do that when we have a clear message.”