My time this summer organizing with HEI hotel workers transformed the way I view meaningful activism. My time in San Diego was a key part of this. Dozens of HEI worker leaders from across the country gathered with 12 summer organizers for two days of actions and inspirational meetings. We saw management avoid us when confronted with a large delegation of students and workers. We picketed with people of all generations as management attempted to physically block our action with busses and speakers. And, perhaps most importantly, we met and shared our stories.
I learned that true change comes about as a result of sincere and diligent attention to the relationships I make, as well as listening, responding, and organizing my efforts according to the needs of others. Our boycott campaign to move business out of the Sheraton hotel in Crystal City is an ongoing struggle, but my time spent on it this summer has helped hone my abilities toward a sharper understanding of what it takes to defeat a company that seems powerful beyond relief. The longer I’ve fought, the more familiar I’ve become with how powerful the union really is, and I know that everyone I’ve worked with this summer at the hotel has what it takes to beat HEI.
– Matthew, 2012 Summer Organizer, Washington D.C