Thursday, May 15, 2014

My story, my dream

Candice Owley, an AFT VP,  stopped me in the hall in Baltimore the other day. She wanted to introduce me to the lunchtime speaker. She said the speaker and I were both story tellers and then said some nice things about my blog. When Candice introduced the speaker to the gathering, she dropped my name into the intro, retelling our conversation in the hall.  She didn't have to do that, but she did, and it was a great sign of respect.
If anything sums up the last week in Baltimore for me, that is it.

Respect is the one universal we all want and we all deserve.  We don't always get it at work, at home, or in the community, but at a conference like last week, we certainly do.

I returned Saturday night from 5 exhausting but wonderful days in Baltimore representing my members.

What were the highlights?

I should tell you about the educational opportunities and the chances to make and renew contacts which will both enhance my practice and my ability to lead the Backus nurses.
I should, and all that is true, but those are not the highlights.

The highlights are seeing my nurses grow and accept a leadership role, not just on the Local level, not just on the state level, but on the national level.
Being able to introduce Dave, one of our newer delegates, who just took over as newsletter editor, to Adrien Coles, editor of our national magazine, and then to have her ask if she could interview him for an article.
To have President Randi Weingarten take the time to have a conversation with Melissa, our VP.
To have Francine Lawrence, AFT Executive VP, spot me at the president's reception, and cross the room to discuss a conference call next week that is a followup for the small union task force.
The late night "team building", that at one point had me laughing so hard I had low back spasms.
The baseball game with Harry, Steve and Dave.
The hour long conversation with Harry Rodriguez on the plane trip down and Melissa Hunter on the trip home, both similar in their theme of our hopes and plans for the future of our union.
The late night heart to heart with Ole about life, family, and the labor movement.

It was a week of respect, and that is what drives our movement, the belief that we should live in a world where all workers are respected, where they receive a living wage, not dependent on their gender, free of discrimination, in a safe work environment, without child labor, with quality public education, and with the ability to retire in dignity.

If I am a dreamer, if I am a story teller, then let that be my dream, let that be my story.

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