We welcome March with a warm embrace in part because it is National Women’s History Month. AFT-Maryland is fortunate that we don’t have to look too far to find inspirational and encouraging models of leadership. We are fortunate that one of the greatest titans in the history of the American labor movement, Dr. Lorretta Johnson, is one of our own. Her tenacity has delivered meaningful results for working people across Maryland for generations. She has not been selfish with her wisdom or skill as she worked side by side with Marietta English to deliver real results for public employees. Mrs. English dedicated decades of her life to Baltimore city’s children, and to labor causes in Baltimore and throughout the state. We are grateful to use their examples as a north star to guide our path and it is my personal honor to have worked alongside these women and continue the important work of the labor movement.
Our state federation is grateful that we don’t merely have to rely on the past to find examples of outstanding leadership. Many of our locals are led by powerful women who fight for members and stand in solidarity with other labor siblings. AFT-Maryland is proud to be the home of Antoinette Ryan-Johnson, president of the City Union of Baltimore #800; Yvonne Dowell, president of AFT-Healthcare Maryland #5197, Marilyn Miller, president of the MCEA (#1935) Advisory Board; Edna Johnston, president of the Maryland School for the Deaf Faculty & Staff Association #4828; Karen Pilecki, president of the Baltimore County Federation of Public Health Nurses #5102; and Diamonté Brown, president of the Baltimore Teachers Union #340.
Our state federation is also deeply involved with labor affiliated organizations such as the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) who works to ensure women’s voices are always heard in the labor movement. The history of labor can not be told in this country without the inclusion of women and we are grateful that in Maryland we not only get to read about history, but we have the opportunity to learn from living history while so many of us take an active role in making history.
Happy Women’s History Month.
Kenya Campbell, President