Wednesday, April 4, 2012

This Is What Solidarity Looks Like!

I've been a delegate from my Local to the Milwaukee Area Labor Council for almost a year now.  But the events of this evenings meeting will stay burned in my memory for the rest of my life.

It started out with pride as I was finally able to be formally credentialed as a delegate.  My pride further grew as I stood in front of the Council and took my oath with other newly credentialed delegates.

The meeting then proceeded as most meetings due as we listened to the reports and took votes on various issues at hand.

But then the meeting became magical again as former County Supervisor Eyon Biddle, newly elected Supervisor David Bowen and about a dozen other people came in with flowers to thank MALC Treasurer/Secretary Sheila Cochrin for her commitment to making our city, our county and our state a better place.  This surprise, along with two standing ovations, got to the strong woman as she was overwhelmed with the show of support, respect and love.

After that happy interlude, the meeting carried on as normal again.

But then one of the most amazing things happened.  My dear friend and president of my Local, got up and told the Council and told them the tale of how I became "He who must be punished."  She said that despite the attacks on me and my family and the considerable stress it put on us, both emotionally and financially, as I was hit with furloughs and thousands of dollars of legal and other bills, I kept fighting as hard as I could.  She further told the group that we've hit some really rough times and were having serious problems and asked if they would  pass a hat for me.

Volunteers started passing someone's baseball cap around.  Even the Council President came down and started collecting.  As the hat was being passed and people were reaching into their wallets and pockets without hesitation, my eyes started welling up on me.

When the winners of a raffle were coming up to collect their prizes, the entire room erupted with chants of "Donate! Donate!"  If I wasn't so damn surprised, I probably would have started crying.

At the end of the day, they had raised hundreds of dollars with pledges of further help to come.

I humbly and gratefully took their kindness.  Now it was I who was feeling overwhelmed with this amazing show of support, respect and love.  But even now, my heart leaps to know that I have such amazing Brothers and Sisters and that I am one of this awesome family.

Even now, I am humbled and damn proud at the same time.

But most of all, I am deeply appreciative, as I was the first and second and third time, of having my eyes opened to know that this is what solidarity looks like.


  1. After reading this, I keep telling myself, "big boys don't cry."

    It's not working.

  2. This is a great story, Chris!
    I learned a lot about standing up for what's right, consequences be damned, from you, my friend. :)

  3. chris,i felt a warm feeling overtaking me when i was at the march 10th rally in was unbelieveable the goodness i felt for my fellow brother and sister in day we will be able to pay it forward i am sure.