Toledo, OH – On September 5th-8th 2018, The Black/Brown Unity Coalition will head down to Greensboro, NC where African-Americans sat in at Woolworth’s in 1960. Then we will head to Eastern North Carolina to visit tobacco farm workers in the fields and in their labor camps.
The President of FLOC, Baldemar Velasquez notes, “It is very important that Latinos get a glimpse of what it took to fight racism against African-Americans in the 60’s. The Greensboro Woolworth sit-ins that sparked a nation-wide movement to integrate lunch counters was a turning point in the civil rights movement. We will visit the civil rights museum with a guided tour with one of the participants in the sit-ins! A living history experience. African Americans will then get a taste of the current fight that farm workers face for fair treatment in the tobacco fields and our fight with Big Tobacco corporations, the challenge of the immigration issue with the obstacles it presents for farm workers leading a decent life. They will visit labor camps and dialogue with workers”
The Black/Brown Unity Coalition was founded by six organizations:
1. Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC)
2. FLOC Homies
3. Latins United
4. Local 500
5. NAACP Toledo Branch
6. Toledo Community Coalition
Baldemar Velasquez, The President of FLOC, wrote the Preamble of the Black/Brown Unity Coalition which describes why these six organizations founded it:
“Throughout the history of America black and brown people have struggled to achieve the full rights guaranteed by the Constitution of our Nation. In the struggles to overcome the historic institutions of oppression, heroic figures have creatively organized, resisted and stood against, many times at the of expense of their lands, property, livelihoods and even their lives. The ravages of slavery, tenant farming, sharecropping that kept many Black peoples on the margins of life set in motion a trajectory wrought with unequal standing and opportunity. The theft of the Western US from Mexico and Indigenous communities through doctrines of “Manifest Destiny” and other euphemisms for predatory imperialism dispossessed millions of Brown inhabitants that to this day live with cautious sensibilities.
The human rights movements through civil rights, labor and community organizing have done much to ameliorate historic inequities but much has remained undone as we see past progress being reversed and dis-mantled. From civic participation, voting rights to economic polarization we see the ramifications in our neglected neighborhoods in the urban areas and rural people frozen in time of the latter part of the last millennium.
Though Black and Brown communities have valiantly struggled against abuses and inequality many times we watched each other’s struggles with sympathy and not seen the opportunity to bridge our own cultures to identify our common obstacles. We the undersigned membership organizations declare that we will no longer carry on separately but work, identify and strategize together in identifying common issues and collaborative solutions.”
– Preamble for the Black/Brown Unity Coalition written by Baldemar Velasquez