It’s an active spring. Workers’ and retirees’ economic security and rights are at risk with the legislature in session; city council and mayoral races are picking up steam; and planning is underway to assure that working families win in the 2018 elections.
Beyond legislative and electoral politics, organizers are planning actions for Earth Day, Workers’ Memorial Day and May Day. People are gathering in house meetings, community assemblies and the streets to express and discuss concerns and demand change and justice.
Retirees are active in all these efforts and many are also working on two big projects of the State Retiree Council.
Our 14th Annual Fun(d)raiser is coming up on Saturday April 29th, at the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, 353 W. 7th Street in Saint Paul (By the corner of West 7th & Smith Ave.) That’s the tons-of-fun!!! annual party that generates resources the Council uses to agitate, educate and organize union retirees for action on issues that concern us and on behalf of politicians who work for working and retired families. Come and see for yourself what a good time it is. Enjoy the free food and music, have fun with friends, and (maybe) win a nice raffle or silent auction prize.
Then, on May 6th (the very next Saturday), we, along with a host of other union and community organizations, are holding a conference on Family Security & Retiree Power in a Time of Crisis. It will be at the Minnesota Nurses Association, 345 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, 55102.
National Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) President Robert Roach Jr. will be the keynote speaker. This will be an action-oriented discussion about resisting attacks on affordable health care, our pensions and social safety net, and how we can organize for power to make them better. You can register at aflcio.mn/retirees17. The conference will run from 9 a.m. ‘til 2 p.m. There’s a $5 registration fee payable at the door and lunch will be provided. Hope to see you there.
I read an article the other day, titled Protest and Persist, by Rebecca Solnit. The author expects that the true impact of current activism may not be felt for a generation, but believes that — rather than surrender to despair — that is reason to embrace hope and continue the battle. “Hope,” she writes, “is a belief that what we do might matter, an understanding that the future is not yet written. It is informed, astute, open-mindedness about what can happen and what role we may play in it.”
Most of us retirees won’t be around a generation from now, but what we do now can still matter then. So we’ll keep on acting in hope that change for the better will come and we’ll have had a hand in it.