As a young woman raised in Detroit by a poor laundry worker, I didn’t grow up with much “privilege.” Everything I’ve earned, I earned by putting in the work. And for years, I’ve put in the work as a shop steward with my union, UNITE HERE Local 24, representing thousands of hospitality workers at the negotiation table across from the area’s most powerful corporate billionaires.
Being a shop steward meant being an advocate for my coworkers; their voice to hold management accountable to do the right thing. I’ve learned firsthand the value of collective action when it comes to serving the interests of my community and its members – including fighting for economic justice, educational justice and environmental justice.
To best fight for myself and my coworkers, I decided to pursue higher education later in life. Going back to school as a working mom wasn’t easy, and I couldn’t have done it without help. Through student loans and the flexibility of my hard-won union contract, I got my Bachelor’s Degree from Rochester College and my Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University. I graduated, earned my seat at the Metro AFL-CIO board, and continued working with UNITE HERE, where I spent countless hours sitting at a negotiating table, knowing I wasn’t going to get up until my coworkers got the fair pay, healthcare, and benefits they all deserved.