This weekend the AFL-CIO will conduct it’s 2024 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference in Montgomery.
The theme for the conference will be “Our Voice, Our Ballot, Our Future” which according to the AFL-CIO is supposed to honor, “Dr. King’s vision for collective action at the voting booth, in the community and in the workplace to safeguard the pillars of our democracy”. The location of the conference will be the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center.
The conference will be held from Friday, Jan. 12 to Sunday, Jan. 14 and each day will focus on different portions of the theme. Friday will explore the “Our Voice” portion of the conference beginning at 10:00 a.m. with opening remarks from AFL-CIO President Elizabeth Shuler and AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Fred Redmond. Advocacy and collective action will be discussed in several workshops throughout the day.
Saturday will focus on “Our Ballot” with panels being held discussing legislative and electoral issues along with how working people can get involved to win at the ballot box. Former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones will be a special guest speaker that day as well. Then Sunday will close the conference with an awards gala at 7:30 p.m. centered on the, “Our Future,” theme.
Many activists, union members, organizers, and faith leaders will be in attendance during the conference. Aside from Jones, Shuler and Redmond there will be several other notable guests at the conference. This includes acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, U.S. Sen. Laphonza Butler, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, Rhode Island Sen. Sandra Cano, Rep. Laura Hall, D-AL, Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Mi Familia Vota President/CEO Héctor Sánchez Barba, Bishop Leah Daughtry and SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.
It should be mentioned that Montgomery has also been named in a lawsuit alleging human rights violations against incarcerated people for it’s role in exploiting prison labor through the Alabama Department of Correction’s work-center program. The suit was brought by incarcerated people as well as several unions and advocacy organizations. The AFL-CIO is not a participant in the lawsuit but Redmond did say the complaint was a good first step to potentially ending “forced labor”.