On July 8th, Cleve Jones came to Local 226 in Las Vegas to talk about how the LGBTQ movement and the labor movement are, in essence, the same movement. “He taught us to stand up for what’s right,” Summer Organizer Wynn said. “I admire his ability to bring together different kinds of people from different kinds of backgrounds. It’s really hard to get people see that we all have a stake in this fight,” Rachel, another Summer Organizer, added. Summer Organizer Ielina shared a personal thought: “When Cleve was talking about how he thought he was the least smart and talented person in his group of friends, who all died of AIDS, it really got me to think about how much I doubt myself and how I shouldn’t give up.”
Summer Organizer Johnny relates his experience on the LGBTQ panel with Cleve Jones in Phoenix:
“The experience of having been able to participate in a training session on LGBTQ and how it all ties in with labor was a great opportunity. It demonstrated to me that this union does not centralize on just one or two people, it is a union of inclusion, a union truly working to ensure equality for and for better working conditions for all of its members and for the community. It really gets to the heart of the idea of “Organizing Beyond Barriers.”
“To be able to also have a man like Cleve Jones at our training, and for me to be able to meet him and to sit on a panel with him, and to be able to listen to the stories of the fighting he’s seen in his life was surreal. He is such an inspiring man, and such a lifelong fighter.
“The whole training was very inspirational and helped me to be able to shed light on how issues in the LGBTQ community tie into labor. It helped me to be able to reflect on the progress that has been made in the past. Learning about different communities of people working together for fair treatment, wages, and respect was a very moving part of the training. I am thankful to have been able to go through this training and to hear and learn about gay rights in the past, now, and plans for the future with UNITE HERE!