Our great union’s core values are rooted in social justice and equality. From the start of our union, we have fought for social and economic equality for all people, not just our members. Much like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we believe that all people should have an opportunity to thrive and achieve the American dream.
Dr. King said: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.” Our union shares that dream. It is that common vision of what we could be that drew together UAW President Emeritus Walter Reuther and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. These two men were more alike than different. They understood that together they could help achieve better jobs, wages, education, and housing. Reuther and Dr. King both had goals, but they were able to attain more by working together. This should be a lesson to us today. One person can move the needle, but together we can move mountains.
While we have made great strides, we also recognize that there is still much work to be done. The right to vote remains under attack. Disparities continue whether it is access to education or economic opportunities. Too many ask the question: what’s in it for me? when we all should be asking, what can we do to help one another. And most disturbingly, violence against African Americans, Asian Americans, Jewish Americans, and our family in the LGTBQ+ community are on the rise.
The UAW will continue to honor our roots and values as we know that we are all connected. We get there by practicing solidarity. We must unify and take actions together. These actions include electing officials who put our communities first and will create laws and policies that support working people. We will continue to build coalitions to fight against silent and overt inequality in education, jobs, and housing.
Dr. King said, “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”
Change can begin with one person. Each one of us can make a difference in our families, our jobs, and our community.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is a day to be of service to mankind. It is a day to reflect on how far we have come and how the dream is not yet achieved. It is a day to that we must examine ourselves to see what part we play in fulfilling the dream.
On this day I am asking you to Stand for equality. Stand for justice. Stand for humanity.
Ray Curry, UAW President
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