On MLK Weekend, Labor Vows to ‘Change the Rules’

IAM Local 2198 member Brenda Douglas helps sort canned food at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, DC.

More than 1,000 labor and human rights activists gathered in Washington, DC to take part in the 2016 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Civil and Human Rights Conference. The theme, “Change the Rules, Be the Power,” galvanized attendees to celebrate King’s legacy while also ushering in a new era of social activism.

WATCH: Change the Rules

The conference covered topics from mass incarceration and immigrant rights to gender equality and the importance of the 2016 election.

“I learned in the coal community that as long as they could divide us up – and they were always trying to divide us up – they could beat us,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “But when we struck together – as a community, as a group of people – they couldn’t beat us.”

IAM Local 2198 member Brenda Douglas came from Houston to attend the conference. She understands the importance honoring King’s message through action.

“To me it’s all about service,” said Douglas. “That’s the way I was raised, it’s always good to give back, because you never know. You may be the person that needs to be given to.”

As part of the conference agenda, Douglas and other attendees volunteered at the Capital Area Food Bank, in Washington, DC to distribute food to those in need.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Douglas. “We think that we’re giving but we’re really getting when we give.”