As a New York Worker Center Federation, we seek to grow the power and leadership of our city’s most essential workers, the backbones of our communities, so that they are able to lead the movement for worker and immigrant justice. We recognize that in this moment we are confronted on all sides by those who wish to undermine the movements we are building and the solidarity that binds us. The politicians and corporations who deny workers a living wage are the same as those who push for the detention of our families, the surveillance of our communities and the denial of our fundamental rights.
We understand that in order to combat these ultra-reactionary and regressive influences that aim to destroy our communities, we must be able to confront all forms of violence, be it perpetrated by the state or by corporations. In order to do so, the Delfino Leadership Institute is grounded in a theory of change that breaks down systems of oppression as a means of resisting violence.
Our first training of the 2016-2017 Delfino Leadership Institute took place on September 24th and centered around gender justice. Leaders who had previously completed the Institute decided that the federation bring a stronger gender-justice lens into our work in order to further empower the movement. Coming off of an incredible Women’s Summit in August, the launch of Delfino brought together a mixed-gender group of leaders in order to advance our anti-oppression analysis. We understand that in fighting against all forms of oppression both inside and outside the workplace, struggling against gender oppression is crucial.
Workers spent the day breaking down the gender binary, questioning rigid understandings of gender and challenging the multiple sources of power that privilege certain genders while disempowering others. The training also covered the importance of allyship. Together they worked on developing strategic skills around how to counter gender discrimination.
Because gender oppression exists in multiple forms and plays out in various experiences, the training offered a safe space for the leaders to reflect on their lived experiences while imagining another reality, free from discrimination and oppression.
As a federation we are envisioning a world where workers are treated with respect and are recognized in their full dignity, irrespective of gender, class, ethnicity, religion, status, or any other part of their beautiful identities.