Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: Let’s leverage our collective power
In a robust speech, Detroit NAACP president Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony praised the union on its history of social activism and partnering with others including civil rights groups in the fight for social and economic justice.
Rev. Anthony, who proudly explained he is a proud honorary member of UAW Local 600, talked about the works and words of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and longtime UAW President Walter Reuther and their continuing relevance.
Together, unions and groups like the NAACP have enormous power, he said, but that power must be leveraged to its full extent.
“Everybody must come to the table,” Rev. Anthony said. “Even people who are not a part of those groups or organizations, because they benefit from the results these groups produce. Even when nonunion people don’t know the benefits, they benefit from the union movement. They benefit from what the union has done.”
Those who have never marched or carried a picket sign, never participated in a protest, or made a call from a phone bank still benefitted from the struggles and benefits of the union movement whether it was from vacation time, pensions, retirement plans or lunch breaks, he explained.
We must remind others of our strength and power and how it affects them. That message should be: “Show me how your life has been better, and I will show you a union” he said.
Together, he added, we have to fight those who attack our health care, our civil rights and our power. “We’ve got to be organized. We have to be so threatening. We have got to be so together that folks are scared to tamper with us because you cannot tamper with us unless you get stung by the rest of us. We have to be organized.
“The issues that we face are too great for us to get caught up in stuff that doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “Labor has come too far to let anyone turn you around.”