A Color Of Change union will help make our vision for racial justice real

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Today, a majority of Color Of Change staff are proud to announce we have won voluntary recognition from our management as Color Of Change Union, represented by the Washington-Baltimore News Guild.

Color Of Change recently celebrated our 15 year anniversary. In those 15 years, almost every email that we’ve sent out to our members has signed off with “Until Justice is Real.” This signoff is both a vision and a commitment.

Our vision is a world where justice is real for Black people, including reparations for generations of harm, equitable opportunities for Black people to thrive, and a more democratic society that allows communities to have control over their own structures and decisions.

Our commitment is to organize, strategize, and fight until this vision has become reality. To do this, we need our organization to be sustainable for the long-term, nurturing our people and modeling the values of the just world we want to see in our everyday work.

We believe a union at Color Of Change is not only necessary to sustain our commitment to racial justice organizing, but is actually a tangible piece of our vision of justice that we can make a reality right now.

Before saying more, we would like to honor our ancestors in the Black labor movement, and the space they created and fought for that allows us to organize as a union today. We are preceded by such giants as Dorothy Lee BoldenLucy ParsonsFrederick DouglassA. Phillip Randolph, and so many others, and are humbled to be walking in their footsteps.

As staff, we are proud to work at Color Of Change to hold corporations, politicians, and all people in power accountable to the needs of Black people. We believe in the critical need for our mission; we believe in the power of our members; we believe in the passion and brilliance of our staff; we believe in the motivations of Color Of Change leadership to build the best organization possible for both us and the Black communities we fight alongside.

Color Of Change has also changed in innumerable ways since it was first started 15 years ago. We now have over 100 staff, over 7 million members, and hundreds of impactful digital campaigns under our belt. And as organizations grow, the structures that keep them running must also grow to meet the needs of their people.

A union at Color Of Change will meet these needs. It will help create a sustainable working environment that encourages growth and Black Joy and prevents burnout from the taxing daily work of combating anti-Blackness. It will allow Color Of Change to align better with the movements we claim to stand with. And it will help us hold ourselves accountable to our stated values and be a model to those who look to us as leaders.

For staff, a union will allow Color Of Change employees to negotiate for a working environment where they feel valued, respected, and recognized as true partners in the future of this organization. This could include job protection, more transparent and inclusive decision-making, clear goals and paths to promotion, 360 performance reviews, investment in professional growth, and so much more we have yet to imagine. We believe this will make Color Of Change a more nurturing and accessible environment to all, from the working parent looking for a secure, long-term career to the new staff member looking for the support to grow into a powerful, lifelong organizer for Black racial justice.

We also believe that to truly align with the labor movements we claim to stand with, we must expand worker protection and empowerment to our own people. Color Of Change has supported unions and worker organizing in many campaigns throughout our existence. Our own president Rashad Robinson has said that “protecting the freedom of women, people of color and all working people to join together in strong unions and build power is the only way our nation will achieve its beautiful potential for all of us.” We’re excited to embody this potential within our own organization.

Finally, as Color Of Change grows our following and influence, it is important to us that we hold ourselves accountable in the same way we do other institutions. A union will serve as an internal way for Color Of Change staff to have a say in guiding the organization towards transparency, equity, and democratic decision-making. We believe this will increase our credibility as an organization to anyone looking to us as a model, and will bring us more in line with our vision of a just world by living out our values as a daily practice.

We are glad that Color Of Change’s leadership agrees that forming a union is the right move for our organization in this critical moment. We look forward to continuing to manifest our vision of justice for Black people, and are excited to commit to the work together as we step into our next 15 years and beyond

Until justice is real.

Follow us on social media @coc_union on Twitter and Instagram. For press inquiries, please email colorofchangeunion@gmail.com