Racial Identity & Labor's Struggle for Equality: Bill Fletcher Jr in conversation w/ Andrew Lamas
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
& Professor Andrew Lamas
for a discussion about race in America
and labor’s long battle to defeat institutional and cultural racism!
Bill and Andy will reflect on how race-baiting, anti-immigrant rhetoric in the white community, and racial solidarity within communities of color played a role in shaping the 2018 elections, and he will discuss the lessons for future elections.
Bill will also share his experience exploring these issues through the medium of story. His first work of fiction: The Man Who Fell From the Sky, a crime novel, examines issues of racism and inequality through the eyes of a young journalist of Cape Verdean descent. The young reporter investigates a murder in a small Cape Cod community in 1970 while covering the anti-Viet Nam War protests and the Black Panthers. His interviews of people of color, African-American and Cape Verdean, bring him a new understanding of the African diaspora and the challenges of surviving in America. The author will also discuss the unique ways in which a work of fiction can explore and reveal important truths about the human condition, as well as touch the heart and stir a people to take action.
Set within a Cape Verdean American community undergoing a transformation of its own consciousness, Fletcher’s crime novel dives deep into questions of racial, ethnic and national identity.
BILL FLETCHER, JR., has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO.
Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.
ANDREW LAMAS began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. His primary faculty appointment is in the School of Arts & Sciences’ Urban Studies Program, where he focuses on the theoretical and practical dimensions, as well as the philosophical and religious bases, of social justice and economic democracy — in the context of historical and contemporary capitalist urbanization. He has also lectured in other schools and programs at Penn, including the Law School, the Wharton School, the School of Design, and the School of Social Policy & Practice. He is Core Faculty in Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies (GSWS) and the Alice Paul Center, he participates in the GSWS Global Gender Group, and he is Faculty Affiliate of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center. Andy also serves as a Faculty Mentor and Fellow at the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, where he focuses on employee ownership, cooperatives, and other alternative forms of broad-based ownership, democratic governance, and workplace participation. His most recent publications are; The Great Refusal: Herbert Marcuse and Contemporary Social Movements (Temple University Press, 2017).and "Eros on the Slaughter-Bench," in Jesse Krimes: Deus ex Machina, ed. Julie Courtney (Drexel University, 2018). He is also on the editorial board of the Radical Philosophy Review.
THIS EVENT IS CO-SPONSORED BY UPENN'S CENTER FOR AFRICANA STUDIES!